Friday, July 9, 1999

Major proxies scurry up at the close after a laid-back session; DuPont sets terms for spinning off Conoco stake to shareholders.
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Markets

A lazy summer trading session perked up a bit in the final hour ahead of next week's economic data (the June

Consumer Price Index

,

Producer Price Index

and

retail sales report

) and big raft of earnings reports. Volume was light to moderate as all three major proxies finished in record territory.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 66.81 to 11,193.70; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

advanced 21.03 to 2792.89; the

S&P 500

rose 8.84 to 1403.26; the small-cap

Russell 2000

popped 3.23 to 457.98; and

TheStreet.com Intenet Sector

index dropped a scant 0.12 to 664.84.

The big European indices all closed higher, London's

FTSE

most narrowly, up just 5.3 to 6,562.6.

Asian markets were flat overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 3.73 to 14,222.57, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

slipped 29.92 to 17,937.73.

More markets news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

last night agreed to buy medical device maker

Perclose

(PERC)

in a stock swap valued at $680 million. According to the deal, Abbott will issue $54 in stock for each Perclose share. Meanwhile, Abbott reported second-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, in line with the

First Call

14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 38 cents.

In with the strategic businesses, out with the nonstrategic businesses.

AlliedSignal

(ALD)

set plans to sell its

Laminate Systems

division to Germany's

Rutgers

for $425 million and buy the electronic materials operations of the U.K.'s

Johnson Matthey

. Chairman and CEO Lawrence Bossidy described the moves as "divesting nonstrategic businesses and making higher-value complementary acquisitions."

Allstate

(ALL) - Get Report

is buying

American Heritage Life Investment

(AHL)

for about $1.1 billion, or $32.25 a share, in stock.

Lester Knight resigned as vice chairman and board member of drug and medical device distributor

Cardinal Health

(CAH) - Get Report

. Knight left to pursue new career opportunities, the company said.

Dayton Hudson

(DH)

subsidiary

Target Stores

is paying $120 million for 10 store properties and other real estate assets in southern California from members-only discount retailer

Fedco

. The sale is pending bankruptcy court approval; Fedco today said has it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

set the terms by which it will split off to its shareholders its 70% stake in

Conoco

(COC)

. DuPont said it would exchange 2.95 Conoco Class B shares for each common share of DuPont.

Litton Industries

(LIT) - Get Report

withdrew its bid to acquire

Newport News Shipbuilding

(NNS)

, saying that the deal would have been "unlikely to receive the necessary government approvals at this time." Litton received regulatory clearance for its acquisition of shipbuilder

Avondale Industries

(AVDL) - Get Report

earlier this week.

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

will move into the

S&P 500

to replace

Transamerica

(TA) - Get Report

, which is being acquired by Dutch firm

Aegon

(AEG) - Get Report

.

Compass Bancshares

(CBSS)

will replace Qualcomm in the

S&P MidCap 400 Index

. The date at which the index changes will take place has yet to be announced.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Internet music delivery software firm

Liquid Audio

(LQID)

shot up 21 9/16, or 143.7%, to 36 9/16 in its first day of trading. Lead underwriter

Lehman Brothers

priced the company yesterday at $15, above its $10-to-$12 pricing range.

Online grocer

Webvan

is placing a $1 billion order with engineering and construction firm

Bechtel

to build warehouses in 26 U.S. markets.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

Japanese Prime Minister

Keizo Obuchi

and Chinese Premier

Zhu Rongji

agreed on terms for China's entry to the

World Trade Organization

. The agreement is the first China has reached on WTO entry with a major industrialized nation.

International

German drug firm

Hoechst

(HOE)

sold its entire 45% stake in specialty chemicals maker

Clariant

in a secondary offering that raised 2.8 billion euros, or about $2.9 billion.

Swiss phone company

Swisscom

(SCM) - Get Report

set plans to buy 58% of German wireless firm

Debitel

from

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

, retailer

Metro Holding

and

Divaco

, a joint venture of Metro and

Deutsche Bank

. Swisscom will pay about $1.7 billion for the stake.

Ford

(F) - Get Report

unit

Volvo

admitted that it colluded with dealerships to fix the prices of its cars sold in the U.K, according to Britain's

Office of Fair Trading

.

More international news and commentary are available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

Six people were gored on the third day of the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, including aptly named Justin Hammerback of Chicago, who gleefully checked into a hospital with a six-inch gash in his buttocks. Nothing's like the real thing, of course, but bored Americans stuck at home should know they needn't travel so far afoot to take part in some senseless violence.

Running of the Bulls America

today kicks off its second annual bull rush in Mesquite, Nev. Naturally, the "company" has a

Web site.

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