Markets

The bombs are falling again tonight in the Balkans, but investors spent the day more concerned with Day II of Operation Tech Surge, which went off without a hitch. The tech-slathered

Nasdaq Composite Index

soared for the second straight day, largely on a massive push in

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

(see below). The blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

charged back toward the 10K mark, and the transport, financial services and Net sectors all posted strong gains.

The Dow gained 169.55 to 9836.39; the

S&P 500

added 21.33 to 1297.01; the Nasdaq rose 69.15 to 2434.43; the small-cap

Russell 2000

shot up 8.59 to 392.99; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index picked up 33.79 to close at 627.90.

European bourses closed higher, while volatile Asian markets stormed out of their recent funk. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

gained 114.79 to 10,826.13, and Japan's

Nikkei

shot up 470.57 to 15,986.04.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

America West

(AWA)

last night unveiled details of its tentative contract agreement with the

Association of Flight Attendants

union. The company said that 2,300 flight attendants will split about $3.1 million in bonuses, while the salaries of top-scale attendants will rise from $23,800 to a range of $32,200 to $33,800.

In with the new jets, out with the old.

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

will sell 119 Boeing 727s and up to 39 engines to

United Technologies

(UTX) - Get Report

unit

Pratt & Whitney

over the next six years. Delta is replacing its 727 fleet with 737s.

Temporary personnel company

Interim Services

(IS)

is buying rival

Norrell

(NRL)

in a stock and cash transaction worth about $553 million.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

today reported first-quarter earnings of $1.76 a share, easily outdistancing the $1.34 a share

First Call

consensus.

Electric utility

New Century Energies

(NCE)

agreed to buy

Northern States Power

(NSP) - Get Report

in a stock transaction worth about $4.9 billion.

Mmm ... more nuts for

Ralcorp Holdings

(RAH)

. The private-label food maker is fortifying its Nutcracker Brands/Flavor House snack nut business by acquiring

Southern Roasted Nuts of Georgia

. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pattie Manuel is stepping down from his post as head of

Sprint's

(FON)

long-distance division. Manuel won't be replaced, as the company plans to split the division into separate consumer and business units, both reporting to President and COO Ronald T. LeMay.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

America Online

(AOL)

and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

announced a four-year marketing alliance. eBay will pay AOL $75 million over the term of the deal, which includes the promotion of eBay on AOL's network and the creation of co-branded sites.

Swedish mobile phone company

Ericsson

(ERICY)

and U.S. competitor

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

announced that they have settled their two-year patent fight over the rights to code-division multiple access, or CDMA, technology. The two companies have agreed to share each other's technology in that area.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

disclosed pretax losses of almost $1 billion from its PC segment last year. A spokesman for the company said IBM is still "committed to the PC business."

Microsoft has a date with the

Justice Department

next Tuesday to discuss the company's settlement offer on its antitrust suit, according to a state attorney general. Mister Softee soared on the news, closing up 8 3/4 to 179 15/16.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Day II of the

NATO

air attack against Yugoslavia is underway. Earlier today Italian Prime Minister

Massimo D'Alema

told reporters at a

European Union

summit that the strikes have effectively ended the Serb offensive in Kosovo, adding that "the time to give politics and diplomacy their say is approaching."

The

Labor Department

today reported that applications for unemployment benefits declined by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 289,000.

International

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

is selling its 50% interest in airline

Ansett Australia

to

Singapore Airlines

for about $315 million.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Brazilian actress

Fernanda Montenegro

has made the shocking accusation that the

Academy Awards

ceremony is not an entirely objective process governed by purely aesthetic considerations. Montenegro expressed particular dismay at the awarding of the best-foreign-film Oscar to

Life Is Beautiful

over

Central Station

, in which she starred.

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