Stocks were mixed at midday, as major proxies were hovering near break-even. Internet issues continued to outperform the broader market.
Major European bourses were flat, while Asian markets had another huge day. Japan's
surged 383.30 to 15,480.00, and Hong Kong's
skyrocketed 216.06 to 1,749.01.
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will settle a class-action suit charging that it illegally raised the annual percentage rate on its credit cards. Without acknowledging any wrongdoing, Sears agreed to pay $72 million in cash and coupons to about 3 million customers -- about 24 bucks apiece.
Someone's buying, rather than getting bought by, a Benelux company for a change. Texas utility
is buying Dutch power company
for $2.4 billion over seven years.
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After meeting with Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, a Saudi Arabian official said that an oil production-cutting agreement between
and non-OPEC members is close to happening. The official said the deal could be announced at the March 23 OPEC meeting in Vienna.
Things are getting worse before they get better in Ecuador. President
has declared a 60-day state of emergency as the country reels from a plummeting sucre and the threat of nationwide strikes. Mahuad has also extended the surprise banking holiday through Thursday.
The antitrust case against
isn't necessarily over yet. The
Federal Trade Commission
is continuing its broader investigation against the chip maker, including the issue of whether it illegally leverages its dominance in microprocessors to force its way into other markets, according to
The Wall Street Journal
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
to look for companies interested in merging with
to thwart the Web portal's acquisition by
. CMGI CEO David Wetherell noted that a CMGI bid for Lycos is not out of the question.
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Banque Nationale de Paris
disrupted the planned wedding of
with a $38 billion hostile bid for
banks. Societe Generale and Paribas are now scrambling to repel the bid.
saga continues. Olivetti has asked
, Italy's stock market regulator, to intervene in Telecom Italia's defensive plan to borrow 10 billion euros and possibly merge with cellular unit
Telecom Italia Mobile
, which Olivetti claims would be illegal as long as its $58 billion tender offer is on the table.
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New York Yankees
has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. No word yet on who will manage in his stead while he undergoes treatment at
Johns Hopkins University
At last filling that gaping pothole in the lives of humorists everywhere, former Sen.
(R, N.Y.) announced his next move: He'll be writing an advice column called "Ask Alfonse" for
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MonEmailbag@thestreet.com, and I'll do my 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.
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