Tuesday, April 6, 1999

Nasdaq ekes out another record; Ford posts another strong sales month; another deal involving News Corp.
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Markets

The mission of the

Nasdaq Composite Index

: to boldly go where no tech-heavy index has gone before.

You could question its resolve today. But in the end, after spending the day all over the map, the Comp managed to eke out another record, gaining 3.09 to 2563.15. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, meanwhile, finished the day on familiar four-digit turf, dropping to 43.84 to 9963.49.

The

S&P 500

dropped 3.23 to 1317.89; the small-cap

Russell 2000

slipped 1.21 to 401.08; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index smoked up 37.54 to close at 720.66.

Major European exchanges came back from the long weekend with a bang, closing sharply higher. In Asia, Japan's

Nikkei

rose 144.93 to 16,479.71. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

remained closed for the Easter holidays.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

The loneliness of the long-distance phone company: Thus far left out of the cellular segment populated by rivals

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

Sprint

(FON)

,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

is in talks to acquire wireless firm

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

, which cited people familiar with the negotiations.

Ford

(F) - Get Report

said its U.S. car and truck sales rose by 14% for the month of March, beating analysts' expectations by 4 percentage points.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

is buying AT&T unit

Liberty Media Group's

(LMGA)

50% stake in sports network

Fox/Liberty Networks

in a stock transaction worth $1.43 billion. Separately, Liberty will buy half of MCI WorldCom's 5% stake in News Corp. for about $700 million in cash, making it the company's second biggest shareholder, after the Murdoch family, with 8%.

Privately held cable and wire manufacturer

Southwire

said today that it will seek to sell its aluminum smelting and copper refining businesses. The company said that "there is no longer a strategic advantage for a wire and cable company to be a metals producer."

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Following recent inroads by

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and

Gateway

(GTW)

into the e-commerce business,

Compaq

(CPQ)

today launched the

Compaq Software Store

to sell third-party software titles in a pact with e-tailer

Beyond.com

(BYND) - Get Report

.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

today announced the launch of the world's fastest 64-bit, four-way Web server. Designed for the e-commerce industry, the server set a record of 11,774 hits per second in benchmark tests.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Yugoslavia today declared a unilateral cease-fire in its campaign against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to mark Orthodox Easter. But the U.S. rejected the truce, reitering the original terms of the peace agreement ealier signed by Kosovars. Defense Secretary

William Cohen

called the Serb cease-fire "absurd."

Elsewhere in the conflict, Western nations have begun flying ethnic Albanian refugees out of Macedonia. Albania, which has been hit with the largest wave of fleeing Kosovars, yesterday agreed to accept more refugees. The U.S. has agreed to make its naval base in Guantanamo Bay a temporary haven for up to 20,000 Kosovars.

Proceed as planned. The

Conference Board

said that the leading economic indicators index rose 0.2% in February, in line with economists' expectations.

International

At the request of Italy's stock market regulator,

Consob

, Italian telecom

Olivetti

clarified its takeover offer for

Telecom Italia

(TI)

, saying that it will accept no less than 35% of the company, and that the offer only stands if Telecom Italia's shareholders vote not to buy out cellular unit

Telecom Italia Mobile

.

There's new kingpin on the block: U.K. pharma giant

Zeneca

today said has received approval from

Astra

(A) - Get Report

shareholders for its $34.7 billion stock takeover of the Swedish company. The new company,

AstraZeneca

, will be the world's largest drug company by sales.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

The

Arizona Diamondbacks'

Bernard Gilkey began his epic chase of

Mark McGwire's

single-season homer record by hitting two dingers off the

Los Angeles Dodgers' Kevin Brown

in yesterday's opener. A logjam of players, including McGwire himself, trails Gilkey by one for the league lead.

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