Monday, Aug. 9, 1999

Stocks close lower as the Net takes a fall once more; Ashland is a Superfos! Superfos! It's Superfosing out.
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Markets

Worries over interest rates and valuations kept stocks mired in their summer doldrums: Amid solidly negative breadth, all the major proxies finished lower.

Technology took the heaviest hits, with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

losing 29.17 to 2518.80. A lot of that selling was in Net stocks, which sent

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index down 18.71 to 479.68.

Blue-chips fared a bit better than their small-cap brethren. The

S&P 500

dumped 2.45 to 1297.84 and the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

shed 6.33 to 10,707.70, while the

Russell 2000

lost 2.15 to 425.89.

The 30-year Treasury bond shed 21/32 to 86 25/32, its yield swelling to 6.235%

The big European indices finished higher, with Germany's

Xetra Dax

and France's

CAC

each gaining more than 1.5%.

Asian markets went both ways overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

fell 221.59, or 1.7%, to 12,945.47 and Tokyo's

Nikkei

added 106.21 to 17,190.45.

More markets news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

American Tower

(AMT) - Get Report

is acquiring the rights to 2,100 communications towers from

AirTouch Communications

, a unit of

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Ashland

(ASH) - Get Report

said it made a $21-a-share cash tender offer to shareholders of Danish construction company

Superfos

. The bid values Superfos at about $650 million.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

unit

GE Medical Systems

is buying medical-imaging company

OEC Medical Systems

(OXE)

for $480 million in stock, or $36 a share.

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

announced plans to cut its off-peak long distance rates to as low as 5 cents a minute. The call to price war isn't sitting well with investors: MCI Worldcom lost 3 7/8 to 77 7/16.

Radio and TV station operator

Paxson Communications

(PAX)

said it has hired

Salomon Smith Barney

to help it explore the possibility of a merger or sale of an equity stake.

Specialty chemicals and coatings maker

RPM

(RPM) - Get Report

set plans to close 23 plants and cut 730 jobs, or about 10% of its workforce. RPM makes Rust-Oleum paints.

More news on companies and stocks are available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

unveiled its 650-megahertz

Athlon

processor, which the company claims is "the world's fastest and highest-performance microprocessor for x86 computer systems."

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

America Online

(AOL)

are considering a deal that would give AOL and other Internet service providers access to AT&T cable systems,

The New York Times

reported today, citing executives close to the companies. AT&T acknowledged meeting with AOL, but said that the two companies aren't discussing specific proposals right now.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

yesterday set plans to invest $1 billion in consulting firm

KPMG LLP

, the U.S. division of

KPMG International

.

Corporate computer data storage firm

EMC

(EMC)

set plans to buy rival

Data General

(DGN)

for about $1 billion in stock. EMC is swapping 0.3262 share for each Data General share, valuing Data General at $19.58 a share.

More tech news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

For the fourth time in 17 months, Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

has fired his prime minister. The latest victim is Sergei Stepashin, who will be replaced by security head and former

KGB

spy Vladimir Putin, pending Duma approval.

TheStreet.com

wrote about this development in Russia's puppet show in

a story this afternoon.

One day after North Korea said it would not be deterred from test-launching an advanced version of a long-range missile that it fired over Japan last year, the

Korean Central News Agency

accused the U.S. of trying to bait it into a war. The paper wrote that the recent Balkan conflict functioned as a test of "a Korean War scenario."

International

U.K. buyout firm

CVC Capital Partners

is offering about $882 million for Acordis, the fiber unit of Dutch chemicals company

Akzo Nobel

. The deal would have CVC and Acordis' management buying most of Acordis, while Akzo Nobel would have an option to buy about 20%.

Deutsche Bank

said GE unit

GE Capital Structured Finance

will join in its bid for parts of

Deutsche Telekom's

(DT) - Get Report

cable TV network. Telekom is taking offers for its nine regional cable units until Aug. 30.

Elf Aquitaine

(ELF) - Get Report

said it would consider a friendly merger with rival oil company

Total Fina

(TOT) - Get Report

if Total agreed to spin off the combined company's chemical business.

Softbank

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Tokyo Electric Power

are in talks to set up a joint venture to offer cheap Internet access via a system circumventing

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone's

(NTT)

local telephone networks, Tokyo Electric Power unit

TTNet

said today.

More international news and commentary are available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

What hurts worse than getting caught in a drive-by shooting? Ask 19-year-old Antonio Williams, whose mother and older brother identified him for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner as the victim in a shooting Thursday near Williams' house. Williams learned about his supposed death through

a report in Friday's

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

, and immediately called his mother to tell her he was still alive. The actual victim was a 20-year-old Chicago man.