Markets

The 30-year Treasury bond bounced back unexpectedly, but U.S. stocks didn't care. Blue-chips put in another lackluster performance, and investors thought it best to let sleeping technology stocks lie, as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

closed sharply lower. Internet issues were mixed, closing around break-even.

The

New York Stock Exchange

is looking at ways to use electronic trading to compete with the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

. The NYSE reportedly is considering four options: putting together its own electronic exchange; combining with an existing electronic communications network like

Instinet

; forming an alliance with rival Nasdaq; or doing nothing at all.

European bourses finished lower, and Asian markets closed mixed. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 200.42 to 9858.49, while Japan's

Nikkei

gained 102.91 to 14,367.54.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

DirecTV

is losing

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

and

Fox

(FOX) - Get Report

. A U.S. district judge today granted a restraining order forcing the

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

subsidiary to stop providing CBS and Fox programming to customers who could otherwise receive those channels from local stations.

Shareholders approved the merger of energy companies

Kerr-McGee

(KMG)

and

Oryx Energy

(ORX)

, clearing the way for a 40% staff reduction, or about 500 jobs.

Mutual insurer

Metropolitan Life Insurance

and Japan's

Asahi Mutual Life Insurance

announced a U.S. asset management joint venture, of which Asahi Mutual will hold 51%.

U.K. pharma firm

Zeneca

(ZEN) - Get Report

is suing

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

for marketing osteoporosis drug Evista as an alternative to Nolvadex, Zeneca's breast cancer drug. Evista does not have

Food and Drug Administration

approval as a breast cancer treatment, although one major study suggested its efficacy in that capacity.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

The

Federal Communications Commission

has classified Internet dial-ups as long-distance, rather than local, calls. The ruling should end the "reciprocal compensation" that the Baby Bells must pay independent local carriers for routing incoming calls to Internet service providers to the Internet.

Dutch consumer electronics maker

Philips Electronics

(PHG) - Get Report

is offering more than $800 million in cash to buy semiconductor company

VLSI

(VLSI)

. VLSI has until March 3 to respond.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

The

Commerce Department

released revised figures showing that the U.S.

gross domestic product

increased 6.1% for the last three months of 1998, the quickest clip since the mid-1980s.

With peace talks suspended, tension is mounting between rebels in Kosovo and Serbian forces. Yugoslavia has placed about 4,500 troops backed with tanks and heavy artillery on the province's border, according to

Defense Department

spokesman Kenneth Bacon.

International

Telecom Italia

(TI)

rejected

Olivetti's

new $58 billion hostile takeover offer and asked Italy's stock market regulator,

Consob

, to review the offer.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

(LVMHY)

is suing to thwart

Gucci Group's

(GUC)

poison-pill defense of LVMH's slowly expanding stake in the company. Gucci attempted to dilute LVMH's ownership from 34.4% to 26% by granting employees options to buy 37 million new shares.

Volvo

(VOLVY)

is readying a bid of more than $3 billion for U.S. truck and bus maker

Navistar

(NAV) - Get Report

, according to Swedish newspaper

Dagens Industri

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Wow.

John Lee Hooker

is returning $20,000 that came with the

Lifetime Achievement Award

he was awarded from the

Rhythm & Blues Foundation

, saying that the money should go to a needier artist.

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dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and

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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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