Publish date:

Thursday, February 4, 1999

Blue-chips poke into positive territory; Quaker beats estimates.

Markets

U.S. stocks were up from their session lows at midafternoon, with an afternoon rally lifting blue-chips into positive territory. Large technology stocks' losses pinned the

Nasdaq Composite Index

deep in the red. Internet stocks were treading water near their opening levels.

European bourses closed modestly lower after opening higher on

TST Recommends

news of the

Bank of England's

surprise 50-basis-point reduction of its benchmark interest rate, which now stands at 5.5%.

Asian markets closed mixed, with Japan's

Nikkei

off 74.46 to close at 14,086.85 and Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

gaining 18.80 to 9438.65. In Malaysia, Finance Minister

Daim Zainuddin

ended a ban that kept foreign portfolio investors from taking money out of the country.

The

Federal Reserve

made no change in its neutral policy bias at its December meeting, according to the just-released minutes of the confab.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Anheuser-Busch

(BUD) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, about 2 cents over expectations.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber

(GT) - Get Report

earned 74 cents a share in the fourth quarter, excluding gains from the sale of assets, a penny under the average of estimates polled by

First Call

. Separately, the company announced that 980 jobs at its original plant in Gadsen, Ala., will be cut as the plant stops making tires and focuses on producing rubber for other Goodyear plants. Yesterday the company announced it will acquire 10% of

Sumitomo Rubber Industries

and take over the Japanese tire maker's U.S. and European operations.

Retailer

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

will buy 33 stores from

Caldor

, which is liquidating its assets after more than three years in bankruptcy.

Chairman and controlling shareholder Dennis R. Washington is stepping up to the plate as president and CEO of construction and engineering firm

Morrison Knudsen

(MK)

.

Quaker Oats

(OAT)

posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of 30 cents a share, a penny above Wall Street estimates.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

CompUSA's

(CPU)

second-quarter earnings dropped 54%, but, at 17 cents a share, still came out a penny ahead of analysts' expectations.

Gateway

(GTW)

will equip its

Profile

PC, which the company markets solely in Japan, with

Advanced Micro Devices'

(AMD) - Get Report

K6-2

processor. Read

TSC's

report on AMD's disappearing act yesterday at the Monty conference.

Internet analyst

Jonathan Cohen

has left

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

to join online investment bank

Wit Capital

.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

International

Italian energy firm

ENI

(E) - Get Report

and Russia's

RAO Gazprom

are forming a joint venture to build a natural gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey for about $3 billion, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

U.K. pharma giant

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

is in talks to unload at a discount its pharmacy-benefits business,

Diversified Pharmaceutical Services

, to a drugstore chain, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

U.K. hotel operator

Stakis

said an unnamed suitor has made a $1.76 billion takeover offer. In late January

The Times

of London had written that Stakis was in talks with betting shop and hotel operator

Ladbroke Group

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Labor Department

figures show the number of initial jobless claims fell 9,000 last week to 292,000, the fourth drop in five weeks.

Israeli warplanes fired air-to-surface missiles at a village in southwest Lebanon after two rockets were fired toward Israel.

Washington Mayor

Anthony Williams

will rehire the aide who resigned in the face of public outcry over his use of the word "niggardly" to describe his office's fiscal policy.

Elsewhere

You're outta there! Three-time

Cy Young

award winner

Tom Seaver

will replace

Tim McCarver

broadcasting

New York Mets

games on New York's

WPIX

radio.

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.