<THE EVENING NEWS>
Monday, April 5, 1999
DJIA 10007.33 +174.82 (+1.72%) S&P 500 1321.12 +27.40 (+2.12%) Nasdaq 2560.06 +66.69 (+2.67%) Russell 2000 402.29 +3.55 (+0.89%) 30-Year Bond 95 4/32 +2/32 5.59 Yield
Online discount brokers got a boost today after Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Bill Burnham said in a report that online transactions grew by 30% to 35% in the first quarter. That's stronger growth than Burnham had initially expected, prompting him to forecast higher Q1 revenues and earnings for the sector across the board. Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCH) rose $9 1/8 to $103 3/8, recent Daily Double National Discount Brokers (NYSE: NDB) gained $4 9/16 to $32, E*Trade Group (Nasdaq: EGRP) added $11 3/4 to $72 5/8, Siebert Financial (Nasdaq: SIEB) climbed $4 11/16 to $28 1/8, JB Oxford Holdings (Nasdaq: JBOH) traded up $1 1/4 to $8 5/16, and Ameritrade (Nasdaq: AMTD) advanced $29 1/16 to $91 5/8. Track Data (Nasdaq: TRAC), which is set to join the online trading services fray next week, soared $14 to $27 in anticipation.
Atlanta-based online bank Net.B@nk (Nasdaq: NTBK) surged $25 11/16 to $101 11/16 after saying it opened 8,000 new accounts in Q1, putting the company in position to beat its goal of attracting an average of 2,000 new accounts every month this year. The bank currently has just over a total of 24,000 accounts, a figure that will double by the end of this year if the new-account creation rate from the first quarter can be sustained over the coming three quarters. The company attributed the rise in accounts to a new advertising program that promotes the bank's low fees and high yields for its core FDIC-insured checking and money market products, which represent about 66% of total accounts. Since reporting its first profitable quarter last July, Net.B@nk's shares are up 238% -- a high yield by any measure.
QUICK TAKES: Australian media and publishing powerhouse News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) rose $3 5/16 to $33 7/8 on various reports that the company will buy Liberty Media's (NYSE: LMG.A) 50% ownership interest in the Fox/Sports Networks cable TV channel partnership to consolidate its sports interests in the U.S., perhaps as soon as this week... Elsewhere, Liberty Media agreed to buy 10 million shares of set-top box maker General Instrument Corp. (NYSE: GIC) from private investment firm Forstmann Little for $280 million, sending that company's shares up $1 3/16 to $32 5/8. Liberty will become the largest shareholder in General Instrument, owning 18% of its outstanding shares. Forstmann Little also agreed to sell 5.3 million General Instrument shares back to the company for $148.4 million.
Online services conglomerate America Online (NYSE: AOL) climbed $16 15/16 to $166 15/16 after an article in the online version of the San Jose Mercury News speculated that the company may be thinking about a possible merger with TV network CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS). CBS rose $1 3/4 to $41 7/8... Network processors maker MMC Networks (Nasdaq: MMCN) popped up $4 1/4 to $21 after naming former 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) executive Douglas Spreng as its new president and CEO... Semiconductors and mobile communications equipment supplier Motorola (NYSE: MOT) added $2 7/8 to $76 7/8 after winning a three-year $219 million mobile communications contract from the Defense Department late last week. Motorola will be providing equipment which will be used in conjunction with the low earth-orbit satellite network operated by Iridium (Nasdaq: IRID), which rose $1 5/8 to $17 1/8.
Paging company SkyTel Communications (Nasdaq: SKYT) jumped $3 29/32 to $19 1/32 after Business Week's "Inside Wall Street" column speculated that telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom (Nasdaq: WCOM) may be interested in acquiring the company... Customer service support software provider Mosaix (Nasdaq: MOSX) moved up $2 3/8 to $10 3/4 after telecommunications equipment maker Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) agreed to acquire the company for about $145 million in stock, or $10.77 per Mosaix share. Lucent rose $3 1/16 to $58 15/16... Web portal Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) picked up $39 3/8 today to $219 1/8 on lingering positive sentiment following its announcement last week that it will acquire streaming media company broadcast.com (Nasdaq: BCST) for $5.7 billion in stock. Broadcast.com rose $27 to $157.
Small business Internet services firm Netopia (Nasdaq: NTPA) picked up $1 5/16 to $11 7/8 after agreeing to create and manage a digital subscriber line (DSL) education center for GeoCities (Nasdaq: GCTY). Netopia will also be the exclusive small business DSL partner for GeoCities' "Pages that Pay" e-commerce affiliate program. GeoCities gained $26 7/16 to $143 9/16... Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) climbed $3 3/4 to $44 7/16 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter started coverage of the company with an "outperform" rating and a 12-month price target of $50 per share... Office-furniture maker Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) forged a $1 7/8 gain to $16 5/8 after receiving a positive write-up in the latest edition of Barron's. Computer printer maker Lexmark International (NYSE: LXK), which was also cast in a favorable light by the magazine, moved up $6 7/8 to $116.
Equipment rental company Rental Service Corp. (NYSE: RSV) jumped $5 to $22 1/4 after rival United Rentals (NYSE: URI) announced it has launched an unsolicited $22.75-a-share cash tender offer for the company in an attempt to break up a pending acquisition of Rental Service by NationsRent Inc. (NYSE: NRI)... Networking products and switch designer FORE Systems (Nasdaq: FORE) picked up $1 1/8 to $21 5/8 on continuing speculation that the company is a takeover target and will soon be acquired by a bigger fish in the networking sea... Natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) tacked on $5 1/2 to $42 3/8 following an upgrade to "strong buy" from "accumulate" from Adams, Harkness & Hill.
Wireless communications technologies firm Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) gained $11 7/8 to $148 7/8 after First Albany raised its rating on the company to "accumulate" from "neutral" with a 12-month price target of $170 per share... Financial services transaction management systems developer BancTec (NYSE: BTC) gained $2 1/2 to $15 1/2 after agreeing to be acquired by private investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $525 million in cash and assumed debt... Consumer products marketer and distributor Sel-Lab Marketing (Nasdaq: SELB) soared $6 3/8 to $11 1/8 after posting fiscal 1998 EPS of $0.14, up from $0.03 last year. The company also said it will launch a website selling cosmetics over the Internet this summer.