Monday, April 26, 1999

The tech sector gives a boost to the major stock indices; American Express gets a new CEO; and Japan's auto output drops.
Publish date:


Russian Prime Minister

Yevgeny Primakov

has got to be seeing red. As a Russian delegation arrived in Washington to resume its ongoing and agonizing bid for a $4.8 billion in

International Monetary Fund

funding -- a loan that would let Russia merely pay the interest on the $20 billion the IMF has lent it over the eight years --


(IBM) - Get Report

added another $9.3 billion to its market cap. That's about an extra $35 billion over the past three trading days.

Equities rocked, and, once again, it was all about tech. Largely on the strength of Big Blue, which gained 10 3/8 to 210 1/8, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed up 28.92 to 10,718.59; the Nasdaq Composite Index rocketed up 61.44 to 2652.13, a new record; the S&P 500 rose 3.19 to a record 1360.04; the small-cap

Russell 2000

added another 3.24 to close at 434.97; and Internet Sector

index shot up 34.55 to 714.27.

Major European indices finished higher, and Asian markets were mixed overnight. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

blew through the 13K barrier, jumping 221.72 to 13,127.02, while Japan's


fell a puny 4.74 to 16,918.51.

For more markets action and news, click



Harvey Golub

told employees in a letter today that he will retire as CEO of

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

in 2001, to be replaced by President

Ken Chenault

. Golub said he will stay on as chairman for a year after he leaves as CEO.

Energy East


, an electric utility based in Albany, N.Y., is buying

Connecticut Energy


for about $430 million in stock, cash and debt.

If the securities industry will not come to the mountain, the mountain will come to the securities industry.

First Union


has set plans to buy

Everen Capital

(EVR) - Get Report

for about $1.1 billion in stock.

Paper company

Fort James


agreed to sell its packaging operations to

ACX Technologies


for about $830 million. The deal will make ACX the largest folding carton maker in the U.S.

Global Crossing


set plans to buy

Cable & Wireless'


cable installation unit,

Global Marine

, for about $885 million in cash and debt. The deal will reduce Global Crossing's reliance on outside contractors to lay its cables.

Southwest Gas

(SWX) - Get Report

accepted natural gas concern


(OKE) - Get Report

sweetened takeover offer of $912.3 million, or $30 a share. Southwest Gas hit the bid despite a bigger offer -- $32 a share -- from

Southern Union


, saying Oneok was better able to fund Southwest's growth and less likely to hit regulatory snags.

For more news on companies and stocks, click



Continuing its move into the communications equipment sector, U.K. manufacturing conglomerate

General Electric PLC

agreed to buy U.S. switching gear maker

Fore Systems


for about $4.5 billion in cash. Last month General Electric PLC signed a $2.1 billion cash deal for




Online auctioneer


(EBAY) - Get Report

is buying San Francisco-based auction house

Butterfield & Butterfield

for about $260 million.



, which last week reported strong second-quarter earnings and set a stock split, is claiming 1 million customer accounts.

For more tech news and commentary, click


General News

Yugoslavia Deputy Premier

Vuk Draskovic

said he believes President

Slobodan Milosevic

is ready to accept a peace deal including an occupation of Kosovo by


troops. Milosevic has shown no interest in such a deal in the past.


Supreme Court

agreed to hear the

Food and Drug Administration's

appeal of a lower court ruling that it does not have the authority to institute new regulations limiting the availability and marketing appeal of cigarettes to children. The FDA wants to ban cigarette companies' sponsorship of sporting events and limit the industries' use of vending machines, but a Supreme Court victory would give the agency the legal authority to limit the nicotine in cigarettes, and possibly even ban them altogether -- a course the FDA has said it has no intention of pursuing.


missiles finished off a previously damaged bridge in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia's second-largest city. The bridge was the last standing of three rail and road crossings into the city. Meanwhile, the Rev.

Jesse Jackson

may be planning to meet with President Milosevic along with a group of Serbian-American ministers, Muslim clerics and rabbis, according to the

International Herald Tribune


The IMF yesterday approved a plan to make contingent credit lines available to countries before crises begin. Meanwhile, IMF Managing Director

Michel Camdessus

joined financier

George Soros

in pronouncing the global financial crisis dead; Camdessus said that while he couldn't nail down the "prolonged effect" the crisis will have in affected countries, the world financial crisis "seems to be" over.


U.K. electicity generator



said it hopes to sell two coal-fired power plants by the end of the week in a deal reportedly worth about $2.1 billion.

The Sunday Telegraph

yesterday reported that U.S. utility company

Edison Mission Energy

(EIX) - Get Report

had won an auction for the plants.


Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association

trade group released figured showing Japanese auto production at 9.97 million units for fiscal 1998, down 7.5% from the previous year and the lowest level since fiscal 1978.

Japan Telecom

yesterday confirmed that global titans

British Telecom




(T) - Get Report

are each taking a 15% stake in it. The deal is worth 220 billion yen, or $1.85 billion, and marks the first big foreign incursion in the deregulating Japanese telecom sector. Japan Telecom said it will place directors from both companies on its board.

For more international news and commentary, click




Daniel Snyder

has inked a deal to buy the

Washington Redskins

with the trustees for the estate of late owner

Jack Kent Cooke

, according to

The Washington Post

, which cited persons familiar with the negotiations. The paper also wrote that Snyder will keep coach

Norv Turner

and general manager

Charley Casserly

for at least one season if the $800 million deal, which includes Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, is approved.

Woody Allen

and wife

Soon-Yi Previn

appeared over the weekend strolling a 5-month-old baby girl up and down Park Avenue. The New York

Daily News

and the

New York Post

each photographed the pair and noted that Previn had not appeared pregnant recently. No joke, er, word on whether the mystery baby, named

Bechet Dumaine Allen

, was adopted.

Have a dumb question relating to finance? Great. Have a


dumb question? Even better. Send it to, and I'll do my best to answer every Saturday. 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.


here to read last Saturday's MonEmailbag.