Friday, July 30, 1999

Stocks struggle early before fading away. London tongues wag over that exchange's plans to move to stock-based ownership.
Author:
Publish date:

Markets

So much for the rebound.

Given the uncertain interest-rate outlook, the market's recent selloff and the prospect of another hot summer weekend, it's not surprising that stocks couldn't keep a convincing rally together today. After surging early, stocks gave up early strength, and the major proxies finished mixed to lower.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

lost 1.52 to 2638.49, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 136.14 to 10,655.15; the

S&P 500

dumped 12.31 to 1328.72; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

shed 6.35 to 556.09. The beneficiary of the market's narrowly positive breadth -- much improved from yesterday -- the small-cap

Russell 2000

was the lone index to close in the black, picking up 3.19 to 444.77.

The big European indices finished solidly higher, with France's

CAC

and London's

FTSE

gaining about 1.8% and 1.9%, respectively. London markets were buzzing with the news that the

London Stock Exchange

has set plans to make the transition from a mutual- to a stock-based ownership structure by offering shares to its members, paving the way for a possible initial public offering.

Asian markets were mixed overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

added 69.02 to 13,186.86, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

slipped 8.06 to 17,861.86.

More markets news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Cardinal Health

(CAH) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of 58 cents a share, a penny ahead of the 15-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago operating earnings of 46 cents.

Fidelity National Financial

(FNF) - Get Report

is in talks to acquire fellow title insurer

Chicago Title

(CTZ) - Get Report

in a transaction that could be valued at about $1.4 billion, according to a report in

The Los Angeles Times

, which cited people familiar with the deal. The paper wrote that, in the event of a deal, both companies would keep their names and identities.

John Georgius yesterday resigned as president of ailing

First Union

(FTU)

. The company named Ken Thompson, its vice chairman of global capital markets, to replace him when Georgius retires at the end of the year.

Shareholders from both companies today approved

General Dynamics'

(GD) - Get Report

$4.8 billion acquisition of

Gulfstream Aerospace

(GAC)

.

Salomon Smith Barney

downgraded

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

to neutral from outperform after the company yesterday said that it wouldn't meet its target of double-digit sales and earnings growth for 1999.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Two more Net offerings are looking strong out of the gates today.

Intermedia Communications

(ICIX)

spinoff

Digex

(DIGX)

gained 5 1/2, or 30.9%, to 22 5/16, having been priced top-range at $17 a share yesterday by lead underwriter

Bear Stearns

. And

NetIQ

(NTIQ)

advanced 3 7/8, or 29.8%, to 16 3/4 after being priced top-range at $13 a share last night by

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

Internet service provider

Earthlink

(ELNK)

ended its cross-marketing pact with low-cost PC maker

Microworkz

, citing a breach of contract. Earthlink said that fewer than 1,000 of its present members have signed on through Microworkz, which previously bundled Earthlink's service with its PCs.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

The U.S. agreed to pay $4.5 million in damages to the 27 people hurt and the families of the three reporters killed in the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. State Department legal adviser David Andrews said the payment does not constitute an admission of liability by the U.S.

Authorities are trying to figure out what drove daytrader and onetime murder suspect

Mark O. Barton

to kill nine people at two Atlanta brokerage firms.

TSC

covered the shootings in a

series

of

stories last night. Barton also killed his wife and two children, and later himself, according to officials.

International

The U.S.

Transportation Department

today rejected an application by

AMR

(AMR)

unit

American Airlines

and

British Airways

(BAB) - Get Report

to form a closer transatlantic alliance. Yesterday the

Financial Times

reported that the companies had ended their three-year effort to form a global pact after failing to get immunity from antitrust proceedings from the U.K. Transportation Department, though the airlines said they would continue to pursue an alliance within existing regulatory limits.

U.K. insurer

CGU

raised its stake in

Societe Generale

to 6.5% to help the bank repel a takeover bid by

Banque Nationale de Paris

. CGU said it plans raise its position in Societe Generale to as much as 10%.

U.K. regional newspaper giant

Trinity

is buying rival publisher

Mirror

for about $2 billion in stock and cash in a deal that would create the U.K.'s largest newspaper publisher.

More international news and commentary is available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

Quarterback and part-time drummer

Doug Flutie

will release an album with nine original songs this fall under the

Frequency Records

label. Admirably, part of the proceeds have been earmarked for

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

. But it's worth mentioning the astonishingly uncool name of Flutie's band:

The Flutie Gang

.