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U.S. stocks are mixed at midday and Microsoft's board approves a 2-for-1 stock split.
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Markets

U.S. stocks were mixed at midday, with tech stocks posting modest gains and blue chips weighed down by loss leaders

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, still feeling the backdraft from Friday's big loss, and

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, hurt by bad news from its pipeline (see below).

European bourses closed mixed, as did Asian markets, as Japan's

Nikkei 225

picked up 54.41 to close at 14,208.81, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

plummeted 239.02 to 9,499.50.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates by 4 cents. Citigroup's numbers don't include the one-time charges from last year's merger with

Travelers Group

.

Eli Lilly's

(LLY) - Get Report

Prozac

patent-infringement suit against competitors

Barr Laboratories

(BRL)

and

Novartis

(NVTSY)

unit

Geneva Pharmaceuticals

ended with a whimper today as those companies agreed to not manufacture a generic version of Prozac in exchange for a $4 million payment from Lilly.

Automotive component manufacturer

Federal-Mogul

(FMO) - Get Report

will offer nearly $6 billion for the U.K.'s

LucasVarity PLC

(LVA)

, according to

The Sunday Times

.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

subsidiary and asset scavenger

GE Capital

has agreed to buy the leasing business of bankrupt

Japan Leasing

, a unit of the now-nationalized

Long Term Credit Bank of Japan

. Separately, GE Capital settled for about $100 million a class-action lawsuit alleging unfair debt collection by the company.

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

said Friday that it has scrapped plans to begin Phase III testing of potential blockbuster antidepressant

MK-869

. The stock was lately down 3 3/16 to 135 13/16.

Nursing home company

Vencor

(VC) - Get Report

said that co-founder

W. Bruce Lunsford

resigned as chairman and CEO, to be succeeded by current president and COO

Edward Kuntz

.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 a share, up 58% from last year. The company attributed the increase to cost-cutting and a booming mobile-phone services segment.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

said its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 stock split. The split still requires shareholder approval. Separately, the company also said it will invest $500 million in U.K. cable company

NTL

(NTLI)

.

Netscape

(NSCP)

co-founder

Marc Andreessen

will be named chief technology officer of

American Online

(AOL)

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

International

Swedish mobile-phone giant

Ericsson

(ERICY)

said it will cut 11,000 jobs over two years in response to slowing profit growth.

UBS AG

is downshifting. The Swiss banking behemoth said it will curtail its investment banking operations in favor of the private-client and asset-management segments and cut its earnings forecast for 2002 by 10%.

Figures from Japan's

Ministry of Finance

show that country's global trade surplus increased a hefty 40% in 1998. Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. increased 33.4%.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Three

House

managers met for two hours yesterday with

Monica Lewinsky

to gauge her utility as a witness, against the objections of

Senate

Democrats who claim the interview undercuts the Senate's authority to determine witnesses in impeachment proceedings.

A U.S. and U.K. missile attack killed and wounded civilians in the Iraqi city of Basra, according to the official

Iraqi News Agency

.

Elsewhere

The

Vancouver Canucks

have replaced

Mike Keenan

with

Marc Crawford

as head coach.