Wednesday, June 2, 1999

Markets are wishy-washy at the close; U.S. steels itself for trade suit; Akzo Nobel sells PRC DeSoto unit.
Publish date:


Call it a wash. Investors ran scared early from another hot piece of economic data (see below). But as the afternoon wore on, they came slowly skulking back, mainly to big-cap technology stocks. The major proxies were split at the end of another day of noncommittal volume.


Nasdaq Composite Index

fared best, gaining 20.37 to 2432.40. Also positive was the

S&P 500

, which added 0.55 to 1294.81; Meanwhile, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

shaved 18.37 to 10,577.89; the smallish-cap

Russell 2000

fell 0.72 to 436.74; and Internet Sector

index lost a scant 0.26 to 556.61.

The big European indices finished mixed, with the Frankfurt


solidly lower, France's

CAC 40

fractionally higher and London's


up about 0.8%. In Frankfurt, and as expected, the

European Central Bank

decided to leave the benchmark eurozone interest rate unchanged at 2.5%.

covered the ECB meeting in

a story this morning.

In Brazil, the volatile


had moved fractionally higher in late afternoon trading.

Asian markets moved higher overnight. A 1.9% rally in


helped Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

add 95.08 to 12,458.64, while Tokyo's


gained 9.49 to close at 16,417.99.

More markets action and news is available in


Markets section.


Preannouncement season started last night when

American Home Products


warned that second-quarter earnings would likely come in about 7 cents below the 25-analyst

First Call

outlook of 41 cents a share, and that full-year 1999 earnings would fall about 11 cents shy of the 27-analyst forecast of $1.89 a share. AHP earned 39 cents in the year-ago second quarter and $1.78 for 1998. The company blamed a global slump in grain and livestock prices and said it was considering strategic alternatives for its agricultural product and livestock units.

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

has called off its $600 million acquisition of

Ingram Book Group

because of regulatory opposition on antitrust grounds.

Charles Schwab


cut a deal with

Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance

, Japan's largest nonlife insurance company, to form a full-service brokerage company in Japan.

Radio network

Westwood One


set plans to acquire traffic report supplier

Metro Networks


for about $900 million in stock.


(CBS) - Get Report


Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

, which manages and owns 16% of Westwood One, said it would support the deal.

More news on companies and stocks is available in


Stock News section.


Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

said today that it expects second-quarter earnings slightly above its previously estimated range of 62 cents to 66 cents a share. The 11-analyst view for Adobe's quarter was 64 cents a share. Adobe also said it will take a $15 million restructuring charge as it cuts about 9% of its worldwide staff.


(AMTD) - Get Report

set plans for a 3-for-1 stock split.

There seems to be only so much capital to go around in the online bookselling business, and that limited supply has been shrinking lately.


closed below its IPO price of 18, off 2 3/4, or 13.8%, to 17 3/16.

Information technology services firm

PRT Group


said it will cut about 11% of its workforce -- that's about 100 jobs -- and move its headquarters to Hartford, Conn., from New York City as part of a plan to get back to profitability.

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

is buying closely held

Telogy Networks

, a maker of embedded communications systems for products like cellular phones and modems, for about $435 million in stock.



bought software company

Online Anywhere

for about $80 million in stock. Online Anywhere develops software connecting the Internet to non-PC devices.

More tech news and commentary is available in


Tech Stocks section.

General News

A group of U.S. steel companies and the

United Steelworkers of America

union filed suit with the U.S.

International Trade Commission

charging that 12 countries -- including Brazil, China, Japan and Russia -- broke trade laws by dumping steel in the U.S. The commission will review the charges before sending the them to the

Commerce Department

for a ruling.


Census Bureau

released figures showing

new home sales

at 978,000 for May, considerably higher than the expected 890,000 and up from last month's revised 896,000.

European Union envoy Martti Ahtisaari said that he and Russian envoy

Viktor Chernomyrdin

have agreed on a Kovovo peace plan and would fly to Belgrade today. Meanwhile, the

World Court

rejected Yugoslavia's request that


halt its air strikes while the court decides whether the alliance's bombing campaign constitutes genocide.


Two weeks after Singapore relaxed regulations restricting foreign ownership of its banks,

Allied Irish Banks


set plans to buy a quarter of the city-state's

Keppel Tat Lee Bank

for $870 million.

Dutch chemical group

Akzo Nobel


sold its aerospace coating and sealants unit,

PRC DeSoto International

, to Pittsburgh-based

PPG Industries

(PPG) - Get Report

for $512.5 million. The sale gives Akzo antitrust clearance from the

European Commission

for its $3 billion takeover of U.K. paints company


last year.

Europe's second-largest cable company,

United Pan-Europe Communications


is paying $1.15 billion for

At Entertainment

, which owns Poland's largest cable TV network.


(MSFT) - Get Report

has an 8% stake in UPC.

More international news and commentary is available in


International section.



Dallas Stars

forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals by beating the

Colorado Avalanche

4-1 last night. The winner of Friday's match will play the

Buffalo Sabres

for the Stanley Cup.

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