Wednesday, April 7, 1999

The Dow finishes up, outdoing the Nasdaq. The release of the captured American soldiers is near, a Cypriot official says.
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Markets

The year 2000 is gonna be great. Telepathic communication. Martian colonization. Record highs on every index, every day.

But this is 1999, and times are tough. A mere two indices managed to set record highs today: The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which gained 121.82 to a record 10,085.31, and the

S&P 500

, which rose 9.00 to a record 1326.89.

Others didn't fare so well. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

sank 18.83 to 2544.34; the small-cap

Russell 2000

fell 3.33 to 397.75; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index lost 20.83 to close at 699.83.

Major European bourses closed higher, while Asian markets surged overnight. Blue-chips soared in Hong Kong, sending the

Hang Seng

up a whopping 541.89 to 11,614.87. Japan's

Nikkei

gained 74.79 to 16,554.50.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

reported first-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, a nickel over the

First Call

consensus. The stock was lately up 2 5/16 to 43 3/8.

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

today said it is in negotiations with potential buyers of its

Boeing Information Services

unit, a provider of data and systems integration services to the federal government.

Republic Industries

is no more. Following the vogue for the Teutonic eschewal of spaces between words, the nation's largest car dealer yesterday changed its name to

AutoNation

(AN) - Get Report

, effective immediately.

Revlon

(REV) - Get Report

said it is considering selling one or more of its businesses as it looks at "strategic alternatives" to repay debts.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Bertelsmann

unit

BMG

and

Seagram

(VO) - Get Report

unit

Universal Music

announced a joint venture to sell compact discs over the Internet. Separately, Seagram agreed to sell all of

October Films

and part of the domestic assets of its

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

to

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

reported first-quarter earnings of 11 cents a share, 3 cents above the First Call consensus.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Having rejected Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic's

call for a unilateral cease-fire with ethnic Albanian rebels,

NATO

continues to pound military targets in Kosovo and elsewhere in Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, a Cypriot official earlier said he was close to securing the release of the three U.S. soldiers captured last week by Serbian forces; NATO has said it would reject any conditions attached to their release.

The

World Trade Organization

ruled in favor of U.S. charges that American banana companies suffer from unfair European Union trade practices, and gave the U.S. the green light to impose $191.4 million in compensatory tariffs on European imports.

Meanwhile, China's bid for entry to the WTO gained momentum as Chinese Premier

Zhu Rongji

said that his country will remove its import bans on U.S. wheat and citrus. China also agreed to break up

China Telecom

, which controls 95% of that country's $28 billion telecom market, into four specialized companies.

International

Banque Nationale de Paris

said today that it plans to carry its takeover bid for

Paribas

and

Societe Generale

through to the end, even though the boards of those banks have rejected BNP's offer, which interrupted their own merger plans.

Expanding its Asian presence,

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

will pay about $390 million for a 20% stake in

SmarTone Telecommunications

, Hong Kong's third-largest mobile phone company.

Mitsubishi Motors

plans to form a business alliance with

Ford

(F) - Get Report

affiliate

Mazda

, according to the newspaper

Nihon Keizai Shimbun

, which did not cite sources. The paper said that part of the deal would involve Mazda selling its

Bongo

commercial vans to Mitsubishi, which would then market them under its

Delica

brand.

Germany's

Otto Versand

, the world's largest mail-order company, is buying

Sears PLC

unit

Freemans

in a deal that will put Otto third in the U.K. home shopping market behind

Great Universal Stores

and

Littlewoods

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

Carnivores don't have to take the slander anymore. The

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

is putting together a hotline where industry members can report "derogatory, unfounded and untrue" statements about beef. A spokesman for the association noted that, in certain cases, "we will send someone over there to re-educate, so the next time they talk they'll be talking from the right side of the ballpark."

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