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Monday, Aug. 16, 1999

Stocks finish the day in modestly positive territory; BFGoodrich will close operations at two aerospace plants; North Fork Bancorp will buy small thrift JSB Financial.


Stocks ended the day in modestly positive territory after swinging restlessly within a narrow range, ahead of tomorrow's

Consumer Price Index


The big European indices closed with mixed results, with France's


up 0.6% and Germany's

Xetra Dax

up 0.7%, while London's


was down 0.4%.

Asian markets finished higher as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

rose 286.6, or 2.3%, to 12,894.78 and Tokyo's


jumped 390, or 2.2%, to 17,826.03.

More markets news and commentary are available in


Markets section.



(AA) - Get Free Report

launched a hostile bid for

Reynolds Metals

(RLM) - Get Free Report

after Reynolds rejected its initial offer. Alcoa said it will offer a $65-a-share tender for all outstanding shares and will take steps to redeem Reynolds' "poison-pill" plan.



said it will close operations at aerospace plants in Naugatuck, Conn., and Cedar Knolls, N.J., resulting in the elimination of some 275 jobs.



is voluntarily recalling a total of more than two million 1991-1993 model minivans in two separate actions after reports of some small fires and some injuries.

Geltex Pharmaceuticals


said it agreed to buy Florida-based drug maker



for about $16.5 million in stock.

Harrah's Entertainment


offered to buy

Players International

(PLAY) - Get Free Report

for $425 million, ending Player's purchase agreement with


(J) - Get Free Report


Specialty insurer


(MKL) - Get Free Report

agreed to buy Bermuda-based holding company

Terra Nova

(TNA) - Get Free Report

for $905 million in cash and stock, bolstering its global position and widening its product lineup.

NBT Bancorp

(NBTB) - Get Free Report

said it would buy

Lake Ariel Bancorp


in a $92.8 million stock swap in a bid to broaden its expansion into Pennsylvania.

North Fork Bancorp


said it would buy small thrift

JSB Financial


for $570 million in stock.

Penn Octane


said the

U.S. State Department

has granted it permission to build two pipelines to carry fuel to Mexico from the U.S., making it easier for Penn to start the $14 million project.

Provident Financial


said it would buy smaller rival

Fidelity Financial

for about $192 million in stock.

More news on companies and stocks are available in


Stock News section.


America Online


struck a deal with


, an online seller of downloadable music. EMusic will offer its product on America Online's ICQ, Spinner and Winamp services. And now for the bad news: A court ruled that AOL has to play nice and share with


(T) - Get Free Report

. Ma Bell said the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted it summary judgement regarding the use of "you have mail," "IM," and "buddy list," saying the terms are generic expressions that are the property of no one.



introduced a chip that lets computer-networking equipment process video, Internet and telephone data more efficiently and at a lower cost.


(CSCO) - Get Free Report

agreed to buy closely held


for $55 million in stock, gaining products that allow existing phones to work over the Internet.

Hewlett-Packard filed to spin off its subsidiary

Agilent Technologies

with an initial public offering it hopes will raise $100 million.

(INSP) - Get Free Report

agreed to acquire closely held


for $37.6 million in stock in an effort to broaden its e-commerce services.

MCI Worldcom


said it will lose revenue because of a 10-day breakdown of its high-speed data network, caused by software from

Lucent Technologies

(LU) - Get Free Report

. MCI chief executive Bernard Ebbers said the company will give the

Chicago Board of Trade

, America Online and some 3,000 other corporate customers, up to 20 free days of service to compensate for the failure.

More tech news and commentary are available in


Tech Stocks section.

General News

Former Tennessee Gov.

Lamar Alexander

has decided to withdraw from the 2000 race for president following a poor finish in Saturday's Iowa straw poll.

A Los Angeles judge has forbid the

Los Angeles Daily Journal

from publishing a story about a lawsuit that was mistakenly unsealed.

The U.S. and South Korea kicked off a 12-day military exercise amid growing tensions with North Korea and fears that it may test-fire a new long-range missile.


Daewoo Group's

Korean creditors said they will take over its brokerage,

Daewoo Securities

, in September, the first step in shrinking the diversified conglomerate into little more than an automaker. The creditors forced the group to sign an agreement to sell or spin off all but six of its 25 units as part of a larger effort to restore international faith in Korea's reform efforts, following the country's financial crisis in 1997.

Dresdner Bank

of Germany said profits rose 6.7% in the first half on healthy income from securities trading. The company said it plans to expand in Europe and the U.S.

GIO Australia Holdings

said it will withdraw from the reinsurance business after enduring $485.4 million in losses in the latest fiscal year.


, Australia's largest life insurer which owns 57% of GIO, said the extent of the losses was far worse than it expected and that it was evaluating legal options in regard to former GIO directors.



said it will buy


of Sweden for $3.7 billion to create the fourth-biggest industrial gases maker and boost its presence in a consolidating European market. Linde is offering about $17 for each Aga share, about 6.8% over Friday's closing price.

Russia's lower house of parliament voted to confirm Vladimir Putin as prime minister after he pledged to strengthen the military, resolve conflict in the Northern Caucasus and promote free-market reforms. Putin, a former KGB spy, who Boris Yeltsin has annointed as his successor when presidential elections occur next year, will be the fifth prime minister in 18 months.


, which publishes 'Billboard' magazine, said it will buy

Nielsen Media Research

(NMR) - Get Free Report

for $2.7 billion in cash and debt. The Dutch company is offering $37.75 for each Nielsen share, 15% above Friday's closing price.

More international news and commentary are available in


International section.


Michael Robert Wyatt of Greenland, Ark., was arrested last week on a charge of felony terroristic threatening, among other charges, after he tried to grab a woman's feet and said he would like to chop them off and take them home. Wyatt, who police say lost a toe in 1991 after he dropped a doghouse on his foot, is a suspect in similar incidents that occurred in nearby towns, including one in which a man told women at a local library they would look good without their toes.