Markets

Tomorrow morning, the bulls start running in Pamplona, Spain. It seemed fitting, then, that for most of today's session, those betting against the major proxies were getting seriously gored.

But the final hour undid all that. After soaring for most of the day in record territory, the big benchmarks sold off hard to finish right around break-even. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 4.12 to 11,135.12; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

fell 4.56 to 2736.46; the

S&P 500

dumped 3.09 to 1388.13; the wee-cap

Russell 2000

eked out a miniscule 0.04 to 456.55; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index inched forward 0.98 to 665.30.

Meanwhile,

Prudential Securities

technical analyst

Ralph Acampora

set "an aggresive long-term target" range for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

to 12,500 to 13,000, from an earlier target of 11,500.

The big European indices finished mixed, with France's

CAC

and Germany's

Dax

ending modestly lower but London's

FTSE

closing solidly higher, and just 43 points below its record high set on May 4.

Asian markets were lower overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 134.13 to 14,372.61, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

gave back 84.33 to 18,050.73 after surging yesterday along with an in-line

tankan

report (see below).

More markets news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Columbia Energy

(CG) - Get Report

said its board has rejected

NiSource's

(NI) - Get Report

unsolicited $68-a-share cash tender offer.

U.S. vitamin seller

General Nutrition's

(GNCI)

board recommended that its shareholders accept Dutch nutrition firm

Numico's

$25-a-share tender offer, worth about $1.8 billion. Numico said it will launch the tender offer no later than July 12.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

won three contracts to provide information management services for

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

. The deal's financial terms weren't disclosed.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

hired a five-member team from

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

to provide quantitative investment products.

TSC

Associate Editor

Dan Colarusso

had

the story early this morning.

Motorola's

(MOT)

wireless unit said it will hire 1,400 people to quicken the development of its wireless Internet devices.

Northeast Utilities

(NU)

unit

Connecticut Light & Power

today said it is selling plants in Connecticut and Massachusetts to Germany's

Northeast Generation

for $865.5 million. The company also confirmed that it is selling its Connecticut fossil-fueled generation plant for $460 million to

Northern States Power

(NSP) - Get Report

subsidiary

NRG Energy

.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Health-care Web site

drkoop.com

(KOOP)

signed a four-year, $89 million pact with

America Online

(AOL)

, which will provide the Koopster's health-care resources to AOL and

CompuServe

members.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

said it completed its $780 million tender offer for 94% of computer telephony firm

Dialogic

. Intel said it will buy the remaining 6% of Dialogic by July 8, by merging its

Intel LMH Acquisition

subsidiary into the company.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

Ehud Barak

was sworn in today as Israel's prime minister after parliament approved his cabinet appointments and policy guidelines.

The first wave of Russian reinforcements arrived in Kosovo today, one day after Moscow cut a deal with

NATO

to have Russian troops patrol small portions of sectors controlled by American, German and French forces.

International

Allied Domecq's

board recommended

Whitbread's

$4.5 billion stock and cash bid for its pub business to its shareholders. But the company also said it will let shareholders vote on

Punch Taverns'

sweetened $4.67 billion cash bid.

The

Bank of Japan

yesterday released its quarterly tankan survey of business sentiment, which largely was in line with expectations. The index for large manufacturers improved marginally to minus 37 from minus 47, the biggest jump since August 1994.

TSC

columnist

Marc Chandler

took a close look at the tankan in a

story yesterday.

The

Bank of England

said it sold 25 metric tons of gold today in the first of a series of sales designed to cut its reserves from 715 tons to 300 tons over the next few years.

U.K. industrial gas supplier

BOC Group

(BOX) - Get Report

said it's mulling a new takeover offer from France's

Air Liquide

and

Air Products & Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

of the U.S., whose $11 billion joint bid BOC rejected two weeks ago.

French oil giant

TotalFina

(TOT) - Get Report

made an unsolicited $43 billion bid for rival

Elf Aquitaine

(ELF) - Get Report

.

More international news and commentary is available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

is dumping its line of "trash talk"-themed T-shirts after the

Center for Advancement of Public Policy

complained that some of the shirts were offensive to women. Disappearing from the shirts are such trenchant claims as "Your game is as ugly as your girl" and "You like that move? So does your girl."

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