Monday, January 11, 1999

Stocks look flat, Rothmans and British American Tobacco get together and Starbucks enters the Middle Kingdom.
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Markets

At 9 a.m. EST the

S&P 500

futures were down 2.80, or about a point below fair value, indicating a flat open.

European bourses were mixed at midday.

Asian market closed lower, as Japan's

Nikkei 225

shed 23.33 to 13,368.48, and Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 88.43 to 10,634.27.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Aluminum manufacturer

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

surged Friday as it announced fourth-quarter earnings above expectations, a 50% dividend increase and a 2-for-1 stock split.

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

said it will spend $55 billion to $60 billion on research and development over the next three years.

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

reportedly will claim its arthritis drug

Vioxx

is more effective at treating a broad range of pain than

Monsanto's

(MTC) - Get Report

Celebrex

, which the

Food and Drug Administration

has said can only be marketed as an arthritis treatment.

Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

today opened its first branch in China at a five-star Beijing hotel.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

said it will spend an additional $2 billion in 1999 accelerate its upgrade of

TCI's

(TCOMA)

cable networks to handle bundled packages of TV, Internet and telephone services. The company also said it will not create a tracking stock for its consumer services business along with its purchase of TCI.

Lucent

(LU)

said Friday that it will record a $1.3 billion gain from an accounting change regarding its pension assets.

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

said it will not bid for cellular phone giant

AirTouch Communications

, leaving AirTouch to continue talks with

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

and

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

.

Former

Packard Bell NEC

CEO Beny Alagem reportedly is in talks to acquire a large stake in

Samsung Group's AST Computer

.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

International

Italian carmaker

Fiat

(FIA)

reportedly is in merger talks with several companies, including Sweden's

Volvo

(VOLVY)

.

German reinsurance company

Munich Re

said it spun off $35.9 billion in industrial holdings in late 1998.

Cigarette companies

Rothmans

and

British American Tobacco

(BTI) - Get Report

agreed to merge in a $21.5 billion deal.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

General News

378,000 new U.S. jobs were created in December, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year.

In a speech to the

Economic Club of Detroit

Friday,

President Clinton

threatened Japan with severe tariffs on steel exported to the U.S. if that nation allowed shipments to remain at their current level.

The

Pentagon

said Friday that air strikes on Iraq have retarded that country's weapons program by two years and killed between 600 and 2,000 Republican Guard members.

Elsewhere

Communications and pharmaceutical mogul Daniel Snyder and banking brothers Howard and Edward Milstein have agreed to purchase the

Washington Redskins

and

Jack Kent Cooke Stadium

for $800 million.