Merger Madness on Columbus Day

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Despite Columbus Day keeping much of the financial world on hold Monday, at least in the U.S.,Money Daily reports the outbreak of merger madness. The unveiling of a possible $37 billion deal between the British tobacco and financial services firm B.A.T. Industries PLC and Zurich Insurance Co., which would create one of the world's largest insurance groups, sent European stocks soaring - a welcome relief from last week's Greenspan-induced tailspin. Other possible mergers of the day included ICG Communications' bid for Netcom, one of the last great independent nationwide Internet service providers. It all sounds like good news for investors, but count on a few nerves being frayed in the countdown to next Sunday - the tenth anniversary of 1987's stock market crash.

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