Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Major indices close up across the board; Net and tech issues defy expectations by finishing the session sharply higher.
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Markets

Well, that certainly didn't make any sense.

Not if you believe the conventional wisdom about the imminent Internet bear market, at any rate. Tech and Net shares dropped hard at the open, but gathered strength thereafter, closing sharply higher. Financials also rebounded strongly from their recent funk.

On strength in

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

and

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rocketed 171.37 to 10,702.46; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

shot up 42.80 to 2423.70; the

S&P 500

added 20.09 to 1304.49; the smallish-cap

Russell 2000

gained 0.96 to 435.41; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index grew 21.72 to 572.02.

The big European indices finished mixed, with Germany's

Dax

and the Paris

CAC

modestly higher but London's

FTSE

closing a tad below break-even. In Brazil, the volatile

Bovespa

was rocketing up 4.6% in late afternoon trading.

Asian markets moved higher overnight, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

gained 62.25 to 12,409.16 and Tokyo's

Nikkei

added 16.29 to 16,230.52.

More markets action and news is available in

TSC's

Markets section.

Companies

Cable TV firm

Charter Communications

, a subsidiary of

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

co-founder Paul Allen's umbrella company

Vulcan Northwest

, is buying closely held

Falcon Cable

for $3.6 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt.

Gasoline retailer and convenience-store operator

Evans Systems

(EVSI) - Get Report

was getting the snot knocked out of it on the heels of Monday's lackluster earnings report and a report in

The Wall Street Journal's

Texas Journal

section focusing on the company's bloated market capitalization. The stock sank 13 1/2, or 51.4%, to 12 13/16.

RV and trailer-home maker

Fleetwood Enterprises

(FLE)

posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 66 cents a share, 5 cents ahead of the

First Call

four-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 81 cents.

Teen clothier and accessorizer

Pacific Sunwear of California

(PSUN)

set a 3-for-2 stock split for shareholders of record June 8, payable June 18.

More news on companies and stocks is available in

TSC's

Stock News section.

Tech

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

,

Matsushita Electric Industrial

(MC) - Get Report

,

Bertelsmann

unit

BMG Entertainment

and

Seagram

(VO) - Get Report

subsidiary

Universal Music

formed an alliance to develop a technology called Electronic Media Distribution, which would allow secure distribution of music and other media over the Web.

A host of Internet companies met with mixed success in their first day of trading today.

Juno Online Services

(JWEB:Nasdaq) losing 1 3/8, or 10.6%, to 11 5/8 after pricing last night at 13; electronic company filings provider

Edgar Online

(EDGR:Nasdaq) was gained a teenie to 9 9/16; and

Ziplink

(ZIPL:Nasdaq) fell 1 5/8, or 11.6%, to 12 3/8. Faring better were

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

(DLJ)

unit

DLJdirect

(DIR:NYSE), up 10 1/8, or 50.6%, to 30 1/8 and Web portal

StarMedia Networks

(STRM:Nasdaq), up 11, or 73.3%, to 26 1/16.

TheStreet.com

focused on DLJdirect in a story

this morning and wrote about Juno in a story

yesterday.

More tech news and commentary is available in

TSC's

Tech Stocks section.

General News

The

Census Bureau

released figures showing durable goods orders declining 2.3% for April, more than 2.5 percentage points below economists' forecasts and down from a revised increase of 2.7% in March. Excluding the transportation sector, factory orders rose 0.9% in April, beating the forecast 0.1% and down from last month's 2.0%

Mediators from Russia, the U.S., Finland and Greece meet today to discuss diplomatic solutions to the crisis in Kosovo. But

NATO

continues to bomb Serbian targets, having earlier today launched what it called its most ambitious air strikes yet, flying a conflict-high 284 attack sorties. Separately, Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic

has been indicted for war crimes by the

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

, according to a

Reuters

report citing a source close to the ICTY.

Indian aircraft attacked suspected guerillas in Kashmir, the hotly disputed province on the border of India and Pakistan. Pakistan claimed that India bombed its territory in the raid, and a Pakistani army spokesman said his country is prepared for "all eventualities."

International

Russia asked the London Club of commercial bank creditors for a six-month extension on an $850 million debt payment due June 2. Russia is meeting with those creditors to restructure interest payments on Soviet-era debts.

More international news and commentary is available in

TSC's

International section.

Elsewhere

Now we can finally focus on the rich content of

The Jerry Springer Show

without all those distractions. Syndicator

Studios USA

has told the talk show that it would tolerate "no violence, physical confrontation or profanity" in its programming, and that new programs and reruns not meeting the new standard would be edited accordingly. Oh, they're serious -- Studios USA this week replaced an episode titled "Guess What? I'm Bisexual" with a show about tall people.

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