Tuesday, June 13, 1999

The benchmarks retrace their steps. Intel stumbles 2 cents short on earnings.
Author:
Publish date:

Markets

Fears of renewed Latin American instability kept stocks in solid negative territory all day long, with all the benchmarks finishing lower despite a final-hour rally.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 25.96 to 11,175.02, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

shed 12.24 to 2778.20 and the

S&P 500

fell 5.54 to 1393.56. The small-cap

Russell 2000

backpedaled 1.19 to 458.11, and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index stepped off 5.75 to 653.04. Banks got hammered on international exposure worries, sending the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

down 1.2%.

After shedding 8.7% yesterday on speculation that Argentina may default or restructure its foreign debt, Argentina's

MerVal

rebounded 4.6%. Seeking to calm the markets, the

International Monetary Fund

said today that it was ready to talk about extending additional credit to Argentina if necessary.

The big European indices closed deep in the tank, with London's

FTSE

, Germany's

Xetra Dax

and the Paris

CAC

each off roughly 1.5%.

Asian markets moved lower overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

slipped 80.91 to 13,980.93, while Tokyo's

Nikkei

dropped 93.09 to 18,181.09.

More markets news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Office supply firm

Corporate Express

(CEXP)

is being bought by Dutch paper giant

Buhrmann

for about $1 billion in cash, or $9.70 a share.

The

Securities and Exchange Commission

has begun an informal inquiry into the accounting practices of carpet retailer

Maxim

(MXG)

, according to the company, which said it was cooperating with the inquiry.

Herbert Allison

abruptly resigned yesterday as president and COO of

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

. This morning Merrill released second-quarter earnings of $1.57 a share, surpassing the 12-analyst

First Call

consensus of $1.46 a share, and up from last year's $1.31.

Tyco International

(TYC)

and U.K. fire-protection and security equipment firm

Williams

called off their exploratory merger discussions this morning.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

Online retailer

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

launched two new stores today:

Amazon.com Electronics

and

Amazon.com Toys & Games

.

CDnow

(CDNW)

is merging with

Columbia House

, the music and video direct marketer jointly owned by

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

. Sony and Time Warner will each own 37% of the resulting entity, while CDnow's present shareholders will hold the remaining 26%.

Pan-Asian Web portal

China.com

(CHINA)

was rocketing in its trading debut, lately up 47 1/16, or 235.3%, to 66 5/8. Lead underwriter

Lehman Brothers

priced China.com yesterday at $20 a share, above its $17 to $19 pricing range.

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

is buying

NetGravity

(NETG)

in a stock swap valued at $530 million.

Internet access provider

Excite@Home

set plans to buy e-commerce firm

iMall

(IMAL)

for about $427 million in stock.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share, two cents below the 31-analyst forecast of 51 cents a share and up from the previous year's 33 cents.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

The

Federal Bureau of Investigation

said it has

Rafael Resendez-Ramirez

, the man suspected of killing eight people living along railway lines, in custody.

Retaliatory tariffs on $116.8 million of

European Union

goods should be in place by late July, according Ambassador for Agricultural Trade Peter Scher. The tariffs, endorsed by the

World Trade Organization

, penalize the EU for its refusal to lift its ban on hormone-treated beef.

U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi communications center in the northern no-fly zone today after being attacked by antiaircraft artillery, according a statement released by the

U.S. European Command

.

China is not pleased with Taiwanese President

Lee Teng-hui

, who yesterday told German radio station

Deutsche Welle

that Taiwan considers its dealings with China to be "state-to-state relations." China's

Foreign Ministry

spokeswoman, Zhang Qiyue, described Lee's comments as "extremely dangerous," and reiterated Beijing's willingness to use force to prevent the formal independence of Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province.

International

In an international industrial gas love triangle, France's

Air Liquide

and Pennsylvania-based

Air Products & Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

are jointly buying Britain's

BOC Group

(BOX) - Get Report

for about $11.2 billion in cash.

Japan's

Financial Supervisory Agency

indicated that it may revoke the banking license of

Credit Suisse Group

subsidiary

Credit Suisse Financial Products

after looking into charges that the company helped Japanese securities firms cook their books and then obstructed a government probe. The agency is expected to ban

Credit Suisse Investment Trust Management

and the Tokyo branch of

Credit Suisse First Boston Securities Japan

from seeking new contracts in derivatives and other product fields, according to

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun

.

More international news and commentary is available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

Minnesota Gov.

Jesse Ventura

will detail his role in the

World Wrestling Federation's

Aug. 22 "SummerSlam" event at a news conference tomorrow that promises to replenish political comedians' depleted stock of Ventura-related material. It's unclear at this point whether Ventura will wrestle or referee, and which would be more hilarious.

Have a dumb question relating to finance? Great. Have a

really

dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and I'll do my best to answer every Saturday. Include your full name, and please, no questions seeking personal financial advice or regarding personal brokerage disputes. And this reminder: Because of the volume of mail, personal replies can't be guaranteed.