Markets

At the end of a choppy day, stocks finished near their starting point. After news the

Fed

hiked rates 25 basis points and kept its bias neutral, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

recouped some of its losses, ending the day down a modest 16.5 points at 11,283, while the

S&P 500

ended slightly higher and the

Nasdaq

closed up 32.7 to 2752.

The big European indices closed mixed, with France's

CAC

up 1.2% while Germany's

Xetra Dax

was up 0.4% and London's

FTSE

was down 0.1%.

Asian markets also finished mixed as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

was up 60.21 to 13,633, and Tokyo's

Nikkei

was down 138.14, or 0.8%, to 18,095.

More markets news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Citadel Communications'

(CITC)

principal operating unit,

Citadel Broadcasting

, inked a deal to buy all partnership interests of

Caribou Communications

for $60 million in cash. Caribou owns five radio stations in Oklahoma City, which Citadel will add to its spectrum of 124 midmarket stations.

Gartner Group

(IT) - Get Report

said it will cut 5% of its workforce. The technology research company said it expects to take a $19 million to $22 million charge in the fourth quarter for the cuts.

GenCorp

(GY)

secured a five-year, $300 million revolving credit agreement for

OMNOVA

, its polymer product business, which it has proposed spinning off.

Medical Manager

(MMGR)

, formerly known as

Synetic

, said it would restate results for its

Medical Manager Health Systems

unit for the six months ended June 30.

Planet Hollywood

(PHL)

said a subcommittee representing noteholders had accepted the company's reorganization plan. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

Pratt & Whitney Canada

, a unit of

United Technologies

(UTX) - Get Report

said it was cutting its hourly workforce by 300 by the end of next month and reducing its salaried workforce by 400 next year. The company said the cuts were the result of delayed customer orders.

Priority Healthcare

(PHCC)

said it will buy back up to 2 million of its shares.

Sterling Financial

(SLFI)

set a 5-for-4 stock split in the form of a 25% dividend, payable to shareholders of record Nov. 1.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

said it would buy Brazil's Internet provider

Netstream

for $300 million.

Media giant

Bertelsmann

said it sold off 7.2 million shares of

America Online

(AOL)

as it focuses on financing its own Internet expansion. The move does not directly affect Bertelsmann's joint venture with AOL in Europe, a subscription-free Internet service intended to take on market leader

Freeserve

(FREE)

.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

suspended plans to change bidding policies for some items following user protests,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The online auction house cut a fee for sellers setting a minimum price on their goods to 50 cents, from $1 the

Journal

said.

Electric Lightwave

(ELIX)

said it was disbanding its

Voice Solutions

division, which includes prepaid calling cards and videoconferencing services. The company said the move will eliminate 30 jobs and should increase earnings.

Gentner Communications

(GTNR)

formed a strategic partnership with

Nextlink Communications

(NXLK)

to distribute Gentner's conference-call services to Nextlink long-distance customers in Western states.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

received a $235 million order from Japan's

Mitsui Marine and Fire Insurance

to operate and manage the insurer's host computer system.

Lucent

(LU)

said

Pequot Capital Management

would invest in its digital radio unit. The amount of the investment was not disclosed. Lucent also announced a three-year, $50 million contract to provide its

PathStar Access Server

to

One Point Communications

.

Net2Phone

(NTOP)

struck a deal with

Compaq

(CPQ)

to offer Web telephone services to new

Presario

customers in Canada, Latin America, Japan and Asia-Pacific.

Nortel

(NT)

will acquire

Periphonics

(PERI) - Get Report

for $436 million.

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Telecom Italia

(TI)

and

Telekom Austria

are planning to make a joint bid for

Albanian Mobile Communications

, Albania's only cellular-phone network, which is state-owned.

More tech news and commentary are available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

A new report says what's cool for cats can kill cockroaches. A study from

Iowa State University

found that a form of the chemical nepetalactone, which is used in catnip, repels cockroaches 100 times better than DEET, the basis for commercial bug repellants. The study could lead to new non-toxic methods for getting rid of the pests.

China vowed to punish leading members of the outlawed meditation group

Falun Gong

, indicating the group's organizers will be prosecuted. An order issued by executive officers outlined ways government work teams, in the midst of a crackdown, are to treat practitioners.

James Hall, chairman of the

National Transportation Safety Board

, criticized the news media's coverage of major air disasters, saying that a "barrage of bad information," can distract from investigations and make things even more difficult for victims' families. Hall said reporters displayed bad manners in the wake of

John F. Kennedy Jr.'s

plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.

Amid the current focus on politicians and their past use of drugs, White House officials said

President Clinton

never used cocaine. The statement followed a

Fox News Channel

interview with

Gennifer Flowers

, who claims Clinton told her he used the drug.

Unions in South Africa decided to strike after failing to reach a deal with President

Thabo Mbeki's

new government on wage increases for public employees. An estimated 800,000 teachers, nurses, prosecutors and other state employees did not show up for work, forcing thousands of schoolchildren to remain home and prompting offices to operate on skeleton staffs.

A cargo ship was adrift off southeast England after colliding with a

Norwegian Cruise

line returning from a 13-day Scandinavian tour. Approximately 20 Norwegian passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash, which smashed the ship's bow. The boat was able to make the 40-mile trip to Dover, where it docked on time.

A domestic passenger jet caught fire as it landed in east-central Taiwan, injuring 28 of the 96 people on board. Passengers on the

UNI Airlines

MD-90 heard a loud noise, followed by smoke pouring into the cabin from one of the overhead luggage compartments. It was the second accident in three days involving a Taiwanese airline.

International

Canadian-based conglomerate

Onex

plans to acquire

Air Canada

and

Canadian Air

and merge the two in a multibillion-dollar deal. Canadian Industry Minister John Manley said he would welcome the investment in the Canadian airline industry.

Lan Chile

(LFL)

agreed to buy seven

Airbus Industries

A340-300 planes worth around $910 million as part of a plan to replace its aging fleet. Lan Chile also took options on another seven aircraft, which brings the total potential of the deal to $1.8 billion.

Matsushita Electric Industrial

(MC) - Get Report

said a strong yen was to blame for its seventh straight quarter of shrinking profits. The maker of

Panasonic

and

Technics

said a strong yen aggravated already weak domestic sales by reducing export earnings.

More international news and commentary are available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

A Massachusetts man who wanted to see what it felt like to wear handcuffs and leg shackles got a little too close to the real thing. After carefully outfitting himself in two pairs of handcuffs, wrist, ankle and stomach chains, the 56-year old Wellesley, Mass., resident was startled to find he could not free himself. So he jumped -- actually hobbled -- into his car and attempted to drive 45 minutes to a friend's house for help. After a call from an alarmed motorist, the man was stopped at a toll bridge by Massachusetts State Police, who assumed he was an escapee from somewhere. After explaining the situation, he was freed -- twice -- but cited for impeded operation and driving to endanger.