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Friday, April 9, 1999

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq sing a gains lullaby, Compaq issues an earnings warning and Niger's president is assassinated.


Not the kind of drama we're used to, but whaddya want? Thanks to big drag

Union Carbide


, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

never got it going today. But investors sent the

S&P 500

and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

to records as memorable as

Cy Young's

478th and 479th wins. The Dow lost 23.86 to 10,173.84; the S&P 500 rose 4.37 to 1348.35; the Nasdaq added 19.66 to 2593.05; the small-cap

Russell 2000

jumped 5.97 to 405.86; and Internet Sector

index shot up 21.17 to close at 731.93.

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Major European indices closed higher following yesterday's rate cut by the

European Central Bank

(see below). Asian markets were higher overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

added 186.26 to 11,914.10 while Japan's


gained 8.94 to 16,855.63 after breaking through the 17,000 barrier in early trading.

For more markets action and news, click



Good news for

American Home Products


in the first ever fen-phen suit to go to trial. The company today settled a lawsuit by a 52-year-old woman charging that the diet drug caused her to suffer heart valve damage. AHP will pay a tiny fraction of the $110 million originally sought in the suit -- $500,000, according to

The Dallas Morning News

, which cited unidentified sources.

Medical device maker


(MDT) - Get Medtronic Plc Report

today said that its


stent system has been approved by the

Food and Drug Administration


Citing unsatisfactory Phase III clinical trials, biotech


(GNE) - Get Genie Energy Ltd. Class B Report

said it will not file for FDA approval of its recombinant human nerve growth factor. The company also said it is discussing with a California district attorney a $50 million settlement of charges that it promoted its human growth hormone from 1985 to 1994 for uses not approved by the FDA.

For more news on companies and stocks, click



Here's something to think about over the weekend:

Compaq Computer


has sent out a first-quarter earnings warning. The company estimates earnings of 15 cents a share, well under expectations of 31 cents a share.

Internet IPOs don't seem to be cooling down at all. Today's three Net offerings smoked out of the gates: Online teen clothing retailer



shot up 35 1/2 to 57 1/2; software maker

Extreme Networks

(EXTR) - Get Extreme Networks, Inc. Report

gained 38 3/8 to 55 3/8; and



rose 36 1/8 to 57 1/8.

For more tech news and commentary, click


General News

The U.S. today issued its target list of European imports on which it will impose punitive tariffs of $191.4 million. Left off were such originally target products as Italian pecorino cheese, Scottish cashmere sweaters and British sweet biscuits.

Niger's President,

Ibrahim Bare Mainassara

, has been assassinated by members of his personal guard, according to

Radio France Internationale

and foreign diplomats.

Former Cypriot President

Spyros Kyprianou

told reporters today that he had failed to secure the release of the three captured U.S. soldiers after a 90-minute meeting with Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic

. Kyprianou said that the recently intensification of NATO's air campaign made the mission "more difficult."


Labor Department

today released the

Producer Price Index

, which increased 0.2% for the month of March, 1 percentage point below economists' expectations.


Goaaaaaaaaaa -- er, no goal. The U.K.

Department of Trade and Industry

has blocked

British Sky Broadcasting's


$1 billion acquisition of English soccer team

Manchester United

, citing concerns that the deal would give BSkyB too much control over soccer broadcast rights.


Goldman Sachs

investment fund will buy 20% of South Korea's

Kookmin Bank

for about $500 million, according to

Bloomberg News

, which cited a person familiar with the deal. The purchase would give Goldman a controlling interest in Kookmin, South Korea's largest retail bank.

About 9,500

Bell Canada

workers went on strike at 12:01 a.m. today, lobbying for higher wages and more job security. Bell Canada, a


(BCE) - Get BCE Inc. Report

unit, plans to cut 1,400 operator jobs when it sells its operator business to

Excell Global Service


For more international news and commentary, click



Having come to a financial agreement with her father, and dissolving a protective order against him as well, star gymnast

Dominique Moceanu

yesterday expressed her hopes for "a chance that some day things in my family can be normal again." An unsettling vision of normalcy indeed, considering that Moceanu sued for her father for independence on charges that he squandered all her earnings over 10 years, and sought a restraining order against him he was being investigating for allegedly trying to hire killers to murder two of her friends.

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