Markets

With the exception of a slightly sluggish Internet sector, U.S. stocks traded modestly higher this morning.

Asian stocks closed mixed today, with Japan's

Nikkei 225

tumbling 183.15 to 13,232.74, and Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

up 81.89 to 9,891.06.

European bourses were mixed at midafternoon.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

J. Crew Group

CEO Howard Socol has resigned less than a year after he joined the company.

Monsanto

(

(MTC) - Get Report

MTC:NYSE) said yesterday that it will start shipping anti-arthritis drug

Celebrex

within 10 days.

The

Food and Drug Administration

announced its approval of

Novartis'

(

(NVTSY)

NVTSY:Nasdaq ADR)

Clomicalm

, an antidepressant for dogs with separation anxiety.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

International

Dresdner Bank

chairman Bernhard Walter said the company is still looking to acquire a U.S. bank and plans to list on the

New York Stock Exchange

this summer.

German media company

Kirch Group

has restructured into three holding companies, thus splitting its broadcasting, investment and pay-TV operations.

The Swedish government announced it will divest 7% of

Pharmacia & Upjohn

(

(PNU)

PNU:NYSE), citing favorable market conditions.

Samsung Group

said it will increase its spending by one-third this year in expectation of a strong economic recovery in 1999 by South Korea.

U.K. mobile telecom firm

Vodafone

reportedly has joined

Bell Atlantic

(

(BEL)

BEL:NYSE) in the market to acquire

AirTouch Communications

(

(ATI) - Get Report

ATI:NYSE), with a competing offer of more than $45 billion.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Tech

Amazon.com

(

(AMZN) - Get Report

AMZN:Nasdaq) posted fourth-quarter sales of $250 million, up from $66 million a year ago.

America Online

(

(AOL)

AOL:NYSE) reportedly will make

CBS News

its exclusive news provider, replacing

ABC News

.

Intel

(

(INTC) - Get Report

INTC:Nasdaq) has introduced two new Celeron chips running at 366 and 400 megahertz.

Intuit

(

(INTU) - Get Report

INTU:Nasdaq) CEO William Harris acknowledged yesterday that his company decided to add

Microsoft's

(

(MSFT) - Get Report

MSFT:Nasdaq)

Internet Explorer

to its

Quicken

program partly because, unlike

Netscape

(

(NSCP)

NSCP:Nasdaq), Microsoft was able to offer a suitable browser on deadline.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

House

Republicans will meet today to name Rep.

Dennis Hastert

(R-Ill.) the new Speaker.

The prosecution rested today in the trail of Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister

Anwar Ibrahim

.

U.S. manufacturing activity declined for the seventh straight month in December, according to the

National Association of Purchasing Management

.

Elsewhere

The

Tennessee Volunteers

beat the

Florida State Seminoles

23-16 to win college football's national championship.