Thursday, August 5, 1999

Tech stocks lead market recovery after a three-day slide; also, Lucent cancels plans to sell operations to LSME.
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Markets

For three straight sessions, stocks sold off on early rallies to close lower. Today they got the selloff out of the way early, with much happier results.

Stocks tanked early amid some bad productivity numbers from the

Labor Department

(see below). But large cap stocks battled back throughout the day and, finally, despite decidedly weak market internals, all the major proxies finished in the black.

The turnaround in tech and Internet stocks was most dramatic. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

gained 25.82 to 2565.82 and

TheStreet.com Intenet Sector

index added 23.64 to 513.55. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

advanced 119.05 to 10,793.82 and the

S&P 500

picked up 8.38 to 1313.71. And the small-cap

Russell 2000

eked out a 0.05 point gain to close at 429.75.

The 30-year Treasury bond gained 28/32 to 89 1/32, its yield falling to 6.053%.

The big European indices all finished deep in the red, paced by Germany's

Xetra Dax

, which lost about 3%.

Asian markets got hit hard overnight. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 336.68, or 2.5%, to 13,254.34, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

dropped 327.19, or 1.9%, to 17,358.19.

More markets news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Cardinal Health

(CAH) - Get Report

is buying privately held Woodstock, Ill.-based

Automatic Liquid Packaging

, a custom manufacturer of sterile liquid pharmaceuticals and other health-care products, for $390 million in stock.

CIT

(CIT) - Get Report

agreed to buy

Newcourt Credit

(NCT)

for about $2.7 billion in stock, about a third less than it originally offered for the Canadian commercial lender, according to reports in

The Globe and Mail

and the

Financial Post

, each of which cited unnamed sources.

Lucent

(LU)

canceled plans to sell its small business sales unit -- which would have meant the transfer about 2,000 employees and 700,000 customers -- to

LSME

, a startup headed by former Lucent and

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

executive Susan Mandl. The financial terms of the now-dead deal were never disclosed.

More news on companies and stocks are available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

The Net IPOs just keep on coming:

Auto dealership Web site manager

Cobalt

(CBLT:Nasdaq) lost 2 3/4, or 25%, to 8 1/4 in its trading debut. Lead underwriter

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

priced Cobalt at $11 a share last night, below its $13 to $15 pricing range.

Homestore.com

(HOMS:Nasdaq) picked up 2 3/4, or 13.8%, to 22 3/4 after being priced top-range at $20 a share by

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

. HomeStore.com's initial pricing range was $8 to $10 a share.

Interactive Pictures

(IPIX:Nasdaq) gained 11/16 to 18 11/16 after being priced top-range at $18 a share last night by

J.P. Morgan

.

E-commerce investment group

Internet Capital

(ICGE:Nasdaq) surged 12 3/8, or 103.1%, to 24 7/16, having been priced top-range at $12 a share by

Merrill Lynch

.

Elsewhere in new tech issues,

Mission Critical Software

(MCSW:Nasdaq) advanced 9 1/2, or 59.4%, to 25 7/16 in its first day of trading.

Hambrecht & Quist

priced Mission Critical at $16 a share last night.

Jabil Circuit

(JBL) - Get Report

set plans to buy Hong Kong-based electronics maker

Get Manufacturing

for $250 million in stock.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

is planning to offer low-priced, or perhaps even free, Internet access in an attempt to take on

America Online's

(AOL)

dial-up Net-access business,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

More tech news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

The Labor Department released figures showing

initial jobless claims

at 279,000 for the week ended July 31, below the expected 284,000 and up from last week's 275,000.

Labor also released figures showing second-quarter nonfarm productivity rising only 1.3%, the smallest gain since the second quarter of 1998. That's a half-percentage point below expectations, and down from a revised jump of 3.6% in the first quarter. Unit labor costs swelled 3.8%, the largest jump since the fourth-quarter of 1997. Economists had expected a 2.2% hop, vs. the modest revised increase of 0.8% in last quarter.

International

U.K. cable firm

Telewest Communications

(TWSTY)

confirmed it plans to launch high-speed Internet services next year with the help of major shareholder Microsoft.

More international news and commentary are available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

After submitting to what must have been the most humiliating medical examination ever, Kathy Jager -- a 56-year-old nurse, grandmother and world-class "oldies" athlete -- was officially declared a woman this week by the

World Association of Veteran Athletes

,

The Arizona Republic

reported yesterday. Fellow athletes had complained that Jager was really a man after the beefy sprinter set a record for women over 50 in the 100-meter dash during the Wava's world championship games. "It is obvious, if you look at her, why the complaint was lodged," said a male athlete from the Australian team.