Markets

Stocks sold off early when

Fed

Chairman

Alan Greenspan

dropped the inflation bomb on investors (see below). And like yesterday, most major indices spent most of the day deep in the weeds.

But unlike yesterday, that's generally where they finished. Only the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

managed to put together a strong two-minute drill, surging back to shallow negative territory in the final hour behind

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

, which gained 4 13/16, or 8.5%, to 61 3/4 (see below).

The Dow lost a scant 8.59 to 10,946.82; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

plummeted 61.27 to 2473.18; the

S&P 500

fell 15.25 to 1332.06; the small-cap

Russell 2000

backed off 0.89 to 433.38; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index stepped down 25.69 to 611.80.

The 30-year Treasury bond closed sharply lower. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's

Bond Focus.)

Major European indices finished mixed, with Germany's

Dax

and France's

CAC 40

down 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively, while London's

FTSE 100

eked out a nearly 0.1% gain. In Asia, Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

lost 15.97 to 13,570.24. Tokyo markets came back hungry from a three-day holiday, with the

Nikkei

rising 599.08, or 3.59%, to 17,300.61.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Avon Products

(AVP) - Get Report

has elected CEO

Charles Perrin

to be its chairman. The company also elected two new board members:

Pharmacia & Upjohn

(PNU)

President and CEO

Fred Hassan

and

Lawrence Weinbach

, chairman, president and CEO of

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

.

BankAmerica

(BAC) - Get Report

is set to sell its retail lending operations in India, Taiwan and Singapore to Dutch bank holding company

ABN Amro

(AAN) - Get Report

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

, which cited an unnamed senior BankAmerica official. The portfolio at stake is reportedly worth between $1.5 billion and $2 billion and includes auto loans and mortgages in all three markets and a

Visa

credit-card business in Taiwan.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

yesterday acknowledged that its

Cadillac

division inflated its December sales to take the position of the top luxury car seller from

Ford's

(F) - Get Report

Lincoln

. GM said Caddy sold 4,773 fewer cars than it had reported, putting it squarely behind Lincoln.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

set plans to form a $3.6 billion satellite-based broadband service company with

TRW

(TRW)

and

Telecom Italia

(TI)

.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

is buying $5 billion in preferred convertible AT&T securities, in exchange for which Telephone will increase its use of the Windows operating system in its TV set-top cable boxes.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan

spoke today at a conference organized by the Chicago Fed. "The breadth of technological advance and its application has engendered a major upward revaluation of business assets, both real and intangible," Greenspan said. "That revaluation has induced a spectacular rise in equity prices that to many has reached well beyond the justifiable." He also noted the "critical risk" the tight job market poses to the U.S. inflation rate.

Terms of a Kosovo peace accord were reached at a Bonn meeting of Secretary of State

Madeleine Albright

and European diplomats. The deal includes an armed international force that would secure the safe return of Kosovar refugees. But Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic

has given no indication thus far that he would accept an armed U.N. presence in Kosovo.

The

Labor Department

released figures showing initial jobless claims at 301,000 for the week ended May 1, 3,000 higher than economists' estimates and up 6,000 from the previous week.

International

The U.K.'s

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

upped the ante for Japanese phone company

International Digital Communications

to about $730 million as it tries to outbid

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone

(NTT)

. Cable & Wireless already holds 17.7% of IDC.

TheStreet.com

reported on the battle last month.

Kawasaki Steel

set plans to cut 1,500 jobs, or more than 10% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring plan to reduce debt.

Reuters'

(RTRSY)

Instinet

unit is forming a consortium to buy 54.4% of London electronic exchange

Tradepoint Financial Networks

for nearly $23 million. In addition to Instinet, the consortium includes

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

,

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, fund manager

American Century

and ECN

Archipelago

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Everybody knows that

Detroit Lions

running back

Barry Sanders

is sick of playing in Loserville. But sick enough to hang up the spikes before he breaks

Walter Payton's

all-time rushing record? That's what Sanders' father, the loquacious

William Sanders

, told

The Detroit News

yesterday, adding, "I wouldn't blame him if he walks away from the game."

Treasuries just not funky enough for you? Godfather of Soul

James Brown

is planning to issue bonds tagged to proceeds from his song royalties. Bond broker

David Pullman

, who floated $55 million in "Bowie Bonds" in 1997, is handling the sale, which is rumored to be valued at $100 million.

Amy Fisher

was granted parole today after serving nearly seven years in prison for shooting

Mary Jo Buttafuoco

in the face. She'll be released within a week, say officials.

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