Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Rally ho! Stocks surge; Big Blue whips earnings estimates; Telecom Italia formally accepts Deutsche Telekom's takeover offer.
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Markets

You've heard of stealth bear trends. You've even heard of

stealth bull trends. But today's broad rally -- and it was broad, including blue-chips, tech stocks, financials, pharmas, small-caps and transports -- had nothing to hide.

Strong breadth backed up sharp advances in both the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, up 132.87 to 10581.42, and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

, up 79.66 to 2489.30. The

S&P 500

rose 29.95 to 1336.12; the

Russell 2000

skyrocketed 11.23 to 426.57; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index shot up 40.11 to close at 636.06.

Major European indices ended mainly higher, with the German

Dax

up 1.5%. London's

FTSE 100

finished with a modest loss, however. Asian markets were mixed overnight, with Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

jumping 133.98 to 12,543.76, and Japan's

Nikkei

sinking 202.09 to 16,495.02.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Biotech firm

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

yesterday reported first-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share on strong sales of lead drugs

Epogen

and

Neupogen

, better than the 35-cent

First Call

estimate and up from 35 cents last year. But

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

was not impressed and today downgraded the stock to neutral from outperform. Amgen was lately down 4 15/16 to 64.

Borders

(BGP)

today announced the abrupt resignation of CEO Philip M. Pfeffer, without giving a reason for his departure. He will be replaced by the company's chairman and former CEO, Robert DiRomualdo.

At its annual stockholders meeting today,

Dow Jones

(DJ)

set plans to launch

dowjones.com

, a Web portal for businesspeople, next month.

A

Food and Drug Administration

advisory panel recommended the approval of

Merck's

(MRK) - Get Report

osteoarthritis drug,

Vioxx

, but withheld an important safety recommendation.

TSC

Senior Writer

Jesse Eisinger

took a look at what the news means for Vioxx.

Right in line:

U S West

(USW)

reported first-quarter earnings of 78 cents a share, the same as in the year-ago quarter and matching estimates. The phone company's CFO said he remains cautiously optimistic about 1999.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

reported first-quarter earnings of $1.55 a share after the close today, beating the 20-analyst estimate by 14 cents, and up from the previous year's $1.06.

Shares of

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

are soaring after the company last night reported second-quarter earnings, excluding charges, of 82 cents a share, up from 25 cents a year ago and well above the 15-analyst consensus of 59 cents. Including the charges, the company lost 59 cents a share. Qualcomm was lately up 54 1/4 to 195 1/16.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Treasury

Secretary

Robert Rubin

said countries that engage in heavy intervention to support a pegged value for their currency should not receive large-scale official loans. Speaking at

Johns Hopkins University

, the secretary also said he does not expect the conflict in Kosovo to affect U.S. fiscal discipline.

Remember that other U.S. military conflict? U.S. war planes attacked anti-aircraft sites in northern Iraq today after being lit up by Iraqi radar, according to the

Pentagon

.

Authorities now put the death toll from yesterday's

Columbine High School

shooting in suburban Denver at 15, including the two shooters themselves. At least 23 others have been reported hospitalized.

International

Telecom Italia's

(TI)

board formally accepted

Deutsche Telekom's

(DT) - Get Report

takeover offer after the German government, which holds 72% of Deutsche Telekom, assured the Italian phone company that it would not interfere in the operations of a combined entity. But Telecom Italia still needs shareholder approval of the deal.

Dutch chemicals firm

Akzo Nobel

said it will cut 2,050 jobs at its sluggish

Acordis

fibers unit.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

The latest participant in the

Chicago Public Schools

system's "Principal for a Day" program is none other than basketball great

Michael Jordan

, who filled the top office yesterday at

Marshall Metro High School

. Teacher Carol Rolowicz summed up the positive surprise, as well as the state of the American presidency, thus: "I was told that I would be getting a visitor, but I thought it would be someone like

Al Gore

or

Clinton

... but Michael Jordan? This is the biggest thing that's ever happened to this school, including when

Oprah

came 10 years ago."

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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.

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