Friday, February 12, 1999

Stocks still trade lower at midday; the Japanese government will funnel about $66 billion in public funds into 15 large banks; Senate clears Clinton on charges.
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Markets

At midday, stocks were up from their session lows but still traded sharply lower. Large technology issues were pulling down the

Nasdaq Composite Index

, with bellwether

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

lately down 9 5/8 to 92 1/4 amid

fears of a possible negative earnings surprise. Blue-chips sustained more modest losses.

European bourses cooled off after a hot start to close mixed. Asian markets closed higher, led by Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

, which skyrocketed 278.62 to 9425.42 amid news that its government would end its nine-month moratorium on public land sales. Japan's

Nikkei 225

added 21.29 to 13,973.69, as that country's central bank said it will lower its key overnight call rate to 0.15% from 0.25%.

TSC

columnist

Marc Chandler

is still

watching the rising long-term yields, however.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

AMR

(AMR)

unit

American Airlines

filed a contempt-of-court motion against its pilots union, which defied a federal judge's order to end its "sickout" yesterday.

Medical-device firm

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

will cut 2,000 jobs as part of its integration of former

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

unit

Schneider Worldwide

.

Bad news from the pipeline:

Monsanto

(MTC) - Get Report

has increased its dependence on new pain and arthritis drug

Celebrex

by killing two late-stage cancer drugs, according to the

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

. The drugs are

daniplestim

, a blood-cell stimulant that was in Phase III clinical trials, and

promegapoietin

, a platelet booster in Phase II trials.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Playboy Enterprises

(PLA)

has filed suit against

Excite

(XCIT)

and

Netscape Communications

(NSCP)

, charging that those companies violate its trademark by generating banner advertisements for other pornographic Web sites when users search on the keyword "playboy."

CMGI

(CMGI)

clarified

USA Networks'

(USAI) - Get Report

statement that CMGI supports USA's acquisition of Web portal

Lycos

(LCOS)

, saying that it is "generally supportive" of the merger, but "reserves the right to reassess the position." CMGI owns 20% of Lycos.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Senators

voted today to clear

President Clinton

of charges that he committed perjury and obstructed justice, ending the second presidential impeachment trial in history.

Indonesian President

B.J. Habibie

said that the people of East Timor should vote for either autonomy or full independence before Indonesia's

People's Consultative Assembly

meets in November.

Palestinian leader

Yasser Arafat

expressed interest in forming an alliance between Jordan and the future state of Palestine. Two-thirds of Jordan is Palestinian.

International

Japan's

Financial Revitalization Committee

said that the Japanese government will funnel about $66 billion in public funds into 15 large banks.

Juergen Peters

, deputy leader of Germany's

IG Metall

union for metal and engineering workers, expressed skepticism over the possibility of avoiding a strike through last-minute arbitration between IG Metall and employers.

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

yesterday named

Michael O'Neill

its new CEO, effective March 26. O'Neill, president of

BankAmerica's

(BAC) - Get Report

financial services unit, is the first foreigner named to that position at Barclays.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Denzo Ishisaki

, 112 years old, became the oldest person in Japan today when 113-year-old

Yasu Akino

passed away at her home in central Japan, the

Health and Welfare Ministry

said.

Have a dumb question relating to finance? Great. Have a

really

dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and

TSC

columnist

Herb Greenberg

and I will do our best to answer. Include your full name, and please, no questions seeking personal financial advice or regarding personal brokerage disputes. And this reminder: Because of the volume of mail, personal replies can't be guaranteed.

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