Friday, May 21, 1999

Stocks close mostly lower in boring action; two tech IPOs make solid debuts; Olivetti wins majority control over Telecom Italia.
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Markets

Don't make eye contact with this market. It's bored, and looking for trouble. Without any positive data -- let alone role models -- to focus on, the indices replayed

yesterday's performances on light volume.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 37.46 to 10829.28; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

tumbled 22.12 to 2520.11; the

S&P 500

sank 8.54 to 1330.29; and TheStreet.com Internet Sector index stepped down 1.41 to 623.38.

Again paying no mind to proxy peer pressure, the

Russell 2000

rose 1.12 to 449.14.

The big European indices finished split, with Germany's

Dax

up modestly but London's

FTSE

and the Paris

CAC

closing slightly lower. In Brazil, the

Bovespa

sold off hard in afternoon trading, plummeting 3.4%.

Asian markets were mixed overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

slipped 103.28 to 12,272.14, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

gained 92.99 to 16,292.98.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

AK Steel

(AKS) - Get Report

agreed to buy specialty steelmaker

Armco

(AS)

for about $842 million in stock.

The

Federal Reserve

last night approved

Deutsche Bank's

$10 billion takeover of

Bankers Trust

(BT)

, removing the deal's last major regulatory hurdle.

Chock Full o'Nuts

(CHF)

urged shareholders to reject

Sara Lee's

(SLE)

$10.50-a-share tender offer, calling it "an attempt by Sara Lee to acquire a competitor at a bargain price."

Fragrances and cosmetics firm

Coty

, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch consumer products firm

Benckiser

(BNV)

, is in preliminary talks to buy part or all of

Revlon

(REV) - Get Report

, according to

The New York Times

, which cited executives close to the negotiations.

Taking the bait of a $2.8 million relocation incentive plan,

Magellan Health Services

(MGL)

, the nation's largest behavioral health care manager, set plans to move its corporate headquarters to Columbia, Md., from Atlanta. The company said it expects to create 600 new jobs by the end of 2001.

Eager to arm the company with currency for future acquisitions,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

shareholders yesterday approved a resolution to increase the number of shares the company can issue to 5 billion from 2.5 billion. Separately, CEO

Bernard Ebbers

said that he would not favor a stock split anytime soon.

Kevin Alibhai is resigning as president and COO of

Wyndham International

, the property management company whose shares are paired and traded with hotel REIT

Patriot American Hospitality

(PAH) - Get Report

.

Rental Service

(RSV)

still wants to merge, but not these ways. The equipment rental firm last night dropped its $430 million bid for

NationsRent

(NRI)

and urged its stockholders to reject a hostile $22.75 a share tender offer from

United Rentals

(URI) - Get Report

. Rental Service said it was hiring advisers to look at strategic alternatives for the company.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Two tech IPOs had solid, if not spectacular, performances in their first day of trading.

AtPlan

(APLN:Nasdaq), a provider of Internet market research systems, rose 2, or 14.3%, to 16. And software company

Tenfold

(TENF:Nasdaq) gained 5 7/8, or 34.6%, to 22 7/8.

Feeling the pinch from slim boxmaking profit margins,

Gateway

(GTW)

yesterday said it will try to buy Internet companies and increase its focus on high-margin training and software products.

priceline.com

(PCLN)

gained 4 1/2 to 138 15/16 after

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

started coverage on it with a buy and a price target of 190.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

NATO

war plans continued to hammer Yugoslavian targets, taking out fuel depots in Belgrade. The attacks caused incidental damage to the residence of the Swiss and Indian ambassadors, according to the Swedish newspaper

Aftonbladet

and the private

Beta

news agency.

The

Senate

yesterday approved a teen-crime bill with an amendment attached requiring background checks for those buying firearms at gun shows and pawn shops.

Vice President Gore

cast the tie-breaking vote.

International

It's official.

Olivetti

has gained majority control over

Telecom Italia

(TI)

in the largest hostile takeover ever pulled off in Europe.

The

Bank of Korea

released figures showing the South Korean economy expanding by 4.6%, the first expansion since 1997.

Minister of Finance and Economy Lee Kyu Sung

expressed his outlook as one of "conservative optimism."

Using its stake in mobile phone firm

One2One

as collateral, U.K. telecom giant

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

is borrowing about $6.1 billion to make acquisitions and expand its network. C&W, which is currently in a bidding war with

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone

(NTT)

for Japan's

International Digital Communications

, will sell its 50% interest in One2One to a financing firm that will secure the loan from a consortium of banks, including

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and France's

Paribas

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Imagine being able to watch

Oprah

while

attending class. The holy grail is now within the grasp of second-year MBA students at

Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management

, which this fall will offer a course co-taught by hometown hero Winfrey and her boyfriend, businessman Stedman Graham. But any students expecting a cakewalk may be in for a rude awakening, based on the blistering preview that Winfrey gave reporters yesterday of the course, titled "Dynamics of Leadership." Graham and Winfrey "share the same beliefs in the importance of dynamic leadership in this country," she said.

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