Wednesday, January 13, 1999

Stocks are all but certain to dive at the open on worries about Brazil; Lucent is set to buy Ascend; things look bleak for Junior Gotti.
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Markets

At 9 a.m. EST

S&P 500

futures were down a whopping 27.00, at their downside limit and about 30 points below fair value, indicating a significant drop at the open.

European bourses were sharply lower at midday.

Asian markets generally closed lower, with Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

plummeting 437.79 to 10,273.77, while Japan's

Nikkei 225

eked out a 42.63 gain to close at 13,403.60.

Vice Finance Minister

Koji Tanami

emphasized Japan's desire for stable foreign exchange rates one day after the

Bank of Japan's

intervention to buoy the dollar's value against the yen.

Brazil's central bank said it will expand the range within which the real trades against the dollar. Separately, bank chief

Gustavo Franco

announced his resignation today.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

Bermuda-based insurer

Ace

(ACL)

will buy

Cigna's

(CI) - Get Report

property/casualty business for $3.45 billion in cash.

Aetna

(AET)

agreed to make its decisions to deny HMO members coverage subject to external review by outside experts.

A

Food and Drug Administration

advisory panel recommended approval of

Intacs

, tiny corneal-ring implants made by

KeraVision

(KERA)

.

Lands' End

(LE) - Get Report

will close three stores and hand out 99 pink slips to pad slim profit margins.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

and

Infoseek

(SEEK)

launched their

Go Network

portal yesterday. See

TSC's

coverage of the launch.

E*Trade

(EGRP)

yesterday said it will take a 28% share in

E*Offering

, an online investment bank that will raise capital over the Internet.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

yesterday reported 1998 fourth quarter earnings above expectations, while Yahoo! also announced a 2-for-1 stock split. Last night

TSC

reported on the news from

Intel and

Yahoo!.

Lucent

(LU)

will buy networking supplier

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Report

. Yesterday

TSC

discussed why the deal makes sense.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

International

Iraq today said that it will increase its daily oil production to 3 million barrels from 2.5 million barrels, and will further boost output to 3.5 million barrels within the next two years.

The Russian government cut its 1999 budget for foreign debt servicing to $4.6 billion from $9.5 billion.

Luxury goods manufacturer

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

(LVMHY)

upped its holdings in

Gucci Group

(GUC)

to more than 14.5% after buying out

Prada's

9.5% stake in the fashion house.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

General News

President Clinton

mailed an $850,000 settlement check to

Paula Jones

yesterday.

Iraq has doubled its surface-to-air missile power in the no-fly zone, according to U.S. defense officials.

Defense

Secretary

William Cohen

told North Korea that it would forfeit U.S., Japanese and South Korean aid for a nuclear power project if it hindered the inspection of a suspected nuclear weapons site.

Elsewhere

Two more co-defendants in the racketeering trial of

John Gotti Jr.

have copped pleas, leaving six defendants of the original 23.