Thursday, Feb. 18, 1999

Blue-chips close after solid gains; tech issues stabilize.
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Markets

Don't call it a comeback, but U.S. stocks posted solid gains, with all five major indices finishing in the black. Blue-chips fared best, advancing solidly throughout the afternoon, while the volatile technology sector stabilized on moderate trading volume.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

jumped 103.16 to 9298.63, the

S&P 500

rose 13.25 to 1237.27, and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

gained 11.64 to 2260.55. The small-cap

Russell 2000

rose 1.54 to 391.09, while

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index picked up 2.27 to close at 461.40.

European bourses closed mixed, while Japan's

Nikkei

lost 11.88 to 14,146.79 on the heels of yesterday's carnage on Wall Street. The

Bank of Japan

lowered its overnight call rate to 0.08%, and Gov.

Masaru Hayami

said a rate of zero would be acceptable. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

was closed for the New Year holidays.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

AMR

(AMR)

unit

American Airlines

testified that its pilots union's "sickout" cost the company more than $150 million. At stake is the question of the union's liability for American's losses.

Dutch insurer

Aegon

(AEG) - Get Report

agreed to buy

Transamerica

(TA) - Get Report

for $10.8 billion in stock, cash and assumed debt. Aegon, which would become the third-largest insurer in the U.S. with the deal, plans to combine Transamerica with the U.S. insurance businesses of

Providian

, acquired in 1997.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

The

Federal Communications Commission

has approved

AT&T's

(T) - Get Report

acquisition of cable giant

TCI

(TCOMA)

without requiring the companies to allow competitors to use TCI's high-speed cable TV lines.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

said it will begin selling computers running the

Linux

operating system.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

The

Producer Price Index

jumped 0.5%, the biggest leap since October 1996. Excluding food and energy components, the index fell 0.1%.

Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

told reporters that he warned

President Clinton

in a recent telephone conversation that Russia "will not allow Kosovo to be touched" by U.S. airstrikes even if Yugoslavia fails to make peace with rebels in that region by Saturday's deadline.

International

Morris Tabaksblat

is stepping down in May as chairman of packaged consumer goods giant

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

, to be succeeded the company's vice chairman, the relatively mellifluously named

Anthony Burgmans

.

Employers have averted a strike by reaching a last-minute agreement with the German metalworkers union

IG Metall

.

NEC

(NIPNY)

President

Hisashi Kaneko

will likely be pressured to resign at the company's board meeting tomorrow, according to the

Financial Times

. NEC is widely expected to announce large losses tomorrow.

A Holocaust survivor filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against

Bayer

, charging that the German pharmaceutical firm participated in atrocities performed by Nazi doctors at Auschwitz. Bayer has previously denied any involvement in Nazi medical experiments.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

The

Philadelphia Eagles

may have found their new starting quarterback. The team yesterday signed

Doug Pederson

, a 31-year-old career third-stringer who's never made an

NFL

start, to a $4.5 million contract. That's Doug Pederson. Doug Pederson.

The big guy's leaving the Big Apple. The

New York Yankees

shook up the rotation in a huge way today, trading the adipose

David Wells

to the

Toronto Blue Jays

for five-time Cy Young winner

Roger Clemens

. The Jays will also receive pitcher

Graeme Lloyd

and infielder

Homer Bush

as part of the deal.

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

really

dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and

TSC

columnist

Herb Greenberg

and I will do our best to answer. 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.

Click

here to read the latest MonEmailbag.

Concerned about the future of Net stocks?

TSC

is holding a special summit on Friday to discuss the Internet sector. Join columnists

James J. Cramer

and

Herb Greenberg

,

Andy Kessler

of

Velocity Capital

,

Nicholas Moore

of

Jurika & Voyles

,

CIBC Oppenheimer's Henry Blodget

,

(WWWFX) - Get Report

Internet Fund manager

Ryan Jacob

and

Brian Salerno

of

Munder Capital

. You'll be able to listen to a live broadcast of the event and later read the transcripts -- but first, help us shape the discussion. Visit

this page for the details.