Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Niggling earnings worries hobble the market. An Oregon jury orders a Philip Morris payout. NATO rejects Milosevic overture.
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Markets

Dow

10K euphoria --

surely

you feel it -- gave way to earnings worries again today, and the market never really got off the ground. On the contrary, after struggling back from early losses, stocks fell into a curious midafternoon swoon after the

Fed

did what everyone expected it to do: nothing. (

TheStreet.com

reported on the Fed's inaction earlier this afternoon.)

Major proxies closed near their session lows. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 93.52 to 9913.26; the

S&P 500

shed 9.42 to 1300.75; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

dumped 12.55 to 2480.29; the small-cap

Russell 2000

fell 0.98 to 398.78;

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index sank 10.28 to close at 643.88.

European bourses closed mixed, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

surged 251.74 to 10,940.21 amid residual

Dow

10K optimism. News of record-high unemployment figures in Japan (see below) kept the

Nikkei

cool. It sank 149.72 to 15,859.12.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

A California judge yesterday upheld a jury's $120.5 million judgment against

Aetna U.S. Healthcare

(AET)

for refusing to cover the medical care of a patient who ultimately died from stomach cancer.

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

today said it will cut up to 4,500 jobs as it streamlines its operations after last year's merger of

First Chicago NBD

and

Banc One

.

Another big hit on

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

: An Oregon jury today ordered the cigarette maker to pay a record $81 million to the family of Jesse Williams, who died of lung cancer in 1997 after four decades of smoking Marlboros.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

America Online

(AOL)

and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

today announced the

Sun-Netscape Alliance

, under which the companies will collaborate on a unified set of e-commerce products, including messaging, directory and security software.

Shares of Internet commerce firm

Priceline.com

(PCLN)

are soaring in their first day of trading, closing up 53 to 69 after hitting an intraday high of 85.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Yugoslav television quoted

Slobodan Milosevic

as saying he would be willing to reduce the Serbian military presence in Kosovo and allow Kosovar refugees to return home if

NATO

attacks ceased. But NATO rejected the proposal, sticking to the terms of the original peace agreement signed by Kosovar rebels, which includes agreeing to a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Back at the

State Department

,

President Clinton

said that the allies are "determined to stay with our policy."

International

Disagreement over the terms of a share-swap has killed the merger of Swiss aluminum group

Alusuisse-Lonza

and German industrial concern

Viag

, according to Alusuisse-Lonza CEO Sergio Marchionne. "The last thing I want to do is talk with Viag again about reskinning a cat," he said.

The

European Union

approved the $3 billion voice, data and Internet joint venture between

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

on the condition that AT&T sell U.K. long-distance unit

ACC

and distance itself from U.K. cable company

Telewest

(TWSTY)

, in which AT&T holds a 22% interest. The joint-venture still needs U.S. regulatory approval.

The Japanese government released figures showing the unemployment rate at an all-time high of 4.6% in February, up 0.2 percentage point from last month.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Divvy up that office pool. The

University of Connecticut Huskies

took the national title last night with an improbable 77-74 victory over the

Duke Blue Devils

. (Congratulations to

TSC

markets reporter

Brian Louis

, who made the call.)

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. 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.