Thursday, May 27, 1999

Going down? We think you know the answer to that. Also the NASD approves a proposal on late trading.
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Markets

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, up 1/4, or a whopping 0.28%, to 90 1/4.

That concludes the list of positive closes in the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

today. Every other stock, except perhaps for break-even Steven

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

, did its part in helping that blue-chip index plummet 235.23 to 10,466.93, not to mention throwing into relief the

aberrant character of

yesterday's surprise blue-chip rally. The S&P 500 got rocked, too, closing down 23.35 to 1281.41.

Other indices took less dramatic damage. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

8.04 to 2419.14; the smallish-cap

Russell 2000

dropped 2.49 to 432.92; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index pulled back 12.63 to 559.38.

In other U.S. markets news, the

National Association of Securities Dealers'

board today approved a proposal to establish a late trading session for the

Nasdaq Stock Market

and

American Stock Exchange

. The second session would run Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. EST to as late as 10 p.m. EST. The

Securities Exchange Commission

still needs to approve the proposal.

The big European indices finished squarely in the red, led by the Frankfurt

Dax

, which lost about 1.5%. In Brazil, the volatile

Bovespa

was down about 2.5% entering the afternoon session.

Asian markets were weak overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 100.63 to 12,308.53, and Tokyo's

Nikkei

fell 53.3 to 16,177.19.

More markets action and news is available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Bermuda-based insurer

Ace

(ACL)

said it plans to acquire specialty reinsurer

Capital Re

(KRE) - Get Report

for about $606 million in stock.

Chevron's

(CHV)

negotiations to buy

Texaco

(TX) - Get Report

in a $42.8 billion stock deal have come to a standstill because of issues of who would lead the combined entity and how to deal with Texaco's joint ventures with refineries and service stations, according to

The Wall Street Journal

, which cited people familiar with the talks.

Moving into the league lead with a two-day acquisition streak,

Charter Communications

, a subsidiary of

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

co-founder

Paul Allen's

umbrella company

Vulcan Northwest

, is buying Denver cable firm

Fanch Communications

for more than $2 billion. Yesterday Charter agreed to buy closely held

Falcon Cable

for $3.6 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt.

Radio broadcaster

Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

, 82% of which is owned by

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

, is buying billboard company

Outdoor Systems

(OSI)

for about $8.3 billion in stock and assumed debt.

TSC

columnist

James Cramer

almost dipped into his Percodan stash on

the news.

The

Federal Trade Commission

approved the $13.5 billion combination of supermarkets

Kroger

(KR) - Get Report

and

Fred Meyer

(FMY) - Get Report

. The deal will create the nation's largest grocery chain.

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

agreed to buy

Allegheny Teledyne

(ALT) - Get Report

unit

Ryan Aeronautical

, which makes airborne reconnaissance and surveillance systems for the military, for $140 million in cash.

REIT

Patriot American Hospitality

(PAH) - Get Report

and paired management company

Wyndham International

set the terms of the spinoff of

Interstate Hotels

. Wyndham will distribute 92% of Interstate to shareholders as a dividend, and retain the remaining 8% jointly with

Marriott International

(MAR) - Get Report

.

Pharma firm

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

named Henry McKinnell COO and president and elected John Niblack vice chairman.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Software company

NetIQ

filed yesterday with the SEC to raise about $46 million in an IPO.

Take that fork out of the Internet boom -- it's not done yet. Spanish language Web portal

StarMedia Networks

(STRM) - Get Report

rocketed up 19 3/8, or 74.5%, to 45 3/8 in its second day of trading.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

is buying Internet access software maker

Encompass

in a $130 million pooling-of-interests deal.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

The

Commerce Department

released figures showing

gross domestic product

growing at a 4.1% clip for the first quarter of 1999, 0.2 percentage points below expectations and down from the previous quarter's 6% increase.

The

Labor Department

said that

initial jobless claims

for the week ended May 22 totaled 300,000, in line with expectations and essentially unchanged from the week earlier.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has indicted President

Slobodan Milosevic

and four others for atrocities in Kosovo, marking the first time an international court brought such charges against a sitting head of state. The

United Nations

has already issued arrest warrants for Milosevic for war crimes allegedly committed this year in Kosovo.

International

Deutsche Bank

is buying

Telecolumbus

, Germany's second-largest cable TV network, from diversified German companies

Veba

and

RWE

for about $773 million in cash and debt. Deutsche's strategy is to bundle several companies' cable assets into a single company and sell it to investors.

An Amsterdam court upheld

Gucci's

(GUC)

sale of a 42% stake to

Pinault-Printemps-Redoute

against the complaints of

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

(LVMHY)

, but the court also annulled a Gucci employee stock option plan that diluted LVMH's stake in the company. LVMH said it will take its case to another Amsterdam court.

More international news and commentary is available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

Three men turned themselves in to Wisconsin police yesterday for stealing a print of

Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace

from a theater last weekend. The print's black-market value has been estimated at more than $60,000 -- still a hefty discount to the full admission price for the film in Manhattan.

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

really

dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and I'll do my best to answer every Saturday. 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.

The

latest MonEmailbag ran Saturday in

TSC's

Commentary section.