Wednesday, February 17, 1999

Blue-chips slowly advance. Heinz announces layoffs of 3,000 to 4,000 and a $900 million charge.
Author:
Publish date:

Markets

U.S. stocks were mixed at midday, as blue-chips were gathering gains after coming back from a sharp opening drop. Tech stocks were still pinned in negative territory by loss-leading

Dell

(see below).

The

Securities Exchange Commission

suspended trading of bulletin board stocks

Shebolt

,

Redwing

and

CPR

until March 2 because of questions about the accuracy of public statements made by the companies.

European bourses closed lower, and 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

BP Amoco

(BPA)

announced that 3,000 jobs will be eliminated in addition to the 7,000 cuts the company has already announced.

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.

H.J. Heinz

(HNZ)

said it will close or sell between 15 and 20 factories and lay off 3,000 to 4,000 workers over the next four years. The company will take a $900 million charge for the restructuring.

TSC

options reporter

Dan Colarusso

saw the

call buying on Heinz last week.

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. Down as low as 76 in early trading, Dell was lately down 7 1/8 to 81 5/8.

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

The

Commerce Department

said that home construction increased 3.8% in January to a 12-year high.

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 No. 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.

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

really

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?

TSC

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

this page for the details.