Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1999

The Nasdaq leads a negative open; United Technologies talks about selling a unit; AOL talks with eBay.
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Markets

Just as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

led yesterday's strong open, it's leading today's sharply negative start. All of the other major indices are down as well.

European bourses were trading lower at midday, while Japan's

Nikkei 225

lost 73.97 to 14,158.67. Most other Asian markets were closed for the New Year holidays.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Investment boutique

Evercore Partners

will buy

American Media

(ENQ)

, publisher of the

National Enquirer

and

Star

tabloids, for $300 million, and will hire veteran magazine publisher

David Pecker

to run the company.

Diversified manufacturer

United Technologies

said it is in talks with potential buyers to unload its auto parts business for about $2 billion.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

matched Wall Street estimates with fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share and announced a 2-for-1 stock split. But slowing earnings growth sent the stock plummeting in after hours trading. Dell was down 10 5/8 to 78 1/8 in early trading.

America Online

(AOL)

is in talks with

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

to develop a closer business relationship, and may purchase a minority stake in the company, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

A South African prosecutor is considering bringing murder charges against the officers accused of the 1977 beating death of anti-apartheid leader

Steve Biko

. Yesterday South Africa's

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

denied amnesty to three of the five officers. A fourth was denied amnesty in December, and the fifth has died since the killing, for which the officers have never admitted their culpability.

Indonesian police fired tear gas into a rioting crowd of 25,000 workers and protesters in Jakarta.

International

Nippon Steel, Japan's #1 steel producer, called allegations that it and other Japanese steel companies are dumping exports "hard to understand."

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

O.J. Simpson's

Heisman Trophy was auctioned off along with other memorabilia for $430,000 last night. The proceeds will go toward the $33.5 million Simpson owes the families of

Nicole Brown Simpson

and

Ronald Goldman

. The Heisman itself brought $255,500.

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dumb question? Even better. Send it to

MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and

TSC

columnist

Herb Greenberg

and I will do our 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.

Click

here to read the latest MonEmailbag.

Concerned about the future of Net stocks?

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is holding a special summit on Friday to discuss the Internet sector. Join columnists

James J. Cramer

and

Herb Greenberg

,

Andy Kessler

of

Velocity Capital

,

Nicholas Moore

of

Jurika & Voyles

,

CIBC Oppenheimer's Henry Blodget

,

(WWWFX) - Get Report

Internet Fund manager

Ryan Jacob

and

Brian Salerno

of

Munder Capital

. You'll be able to listen to a live broadcast of the event and later read the transcripts -- but first, help us shape the discussion. Visit

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