Markets

U.S. stocks continued their strong rally at midafternoon without any help from a listless Internet sector.

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 generally closed higher.

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.

Kellogg

(

(K) - Get Report

K:NYSE) named Carlos Gutierrez to replace Arnold Langbo as CEO, effective in late April.

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.

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here.

International

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

.

Modem manufacturer

Hayes

(

(HAYZQ)

HAYZQ:Nasdaq) has ceased operations and is preparing for liquidation.

German business software firm

SAP

(

(SAP) - Get Report

SAP:NYSE ADR) said its fourth-quarter pretax profit fell because of slack demand in Japan and Russia.

Science Applications International

is set to sell about 38% of its stake in

Network Solutions

(

(NSOL)

NSOL:Nasdaq).

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

A Belgian court has fined two people who hurled custard pies at

Bill Gates'

head last February.

The

Tennessee Volunteers

beat the

Florida State Seminoles

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

Intern Heather Gordon contributed to this report

.