Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Friday, March 23, 2001

Wall St. takes bulls
by the horns

The Dow gains 115 and the
Nasdaq jumps 31 but analysts
are still skeptical

By Adam Geller
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Wall Street ended a horrific two weeks with a show of strength today, as the Dow Jones industrials extended yesterday's late rebound and closed with a gain of more than 100 points. While the Dow's rise was encouraging, analysts said it was unlikely the blue chips -- and the stock market in general -- had indeed hit a bottom, or if yesterday's advance was a temporary bounce following a string of sharp drops.

"Let's not mistake this for a beginning of a bull market move," said Charles White, portfolio manager at Avatar Associates.

"It's a Friday with no economic reports and little news in the marketplace. There's not too much to be made of what's going on today."

The Dow rose 115.30 to close at 9,504.78, wiping out the remaining damage from yesterday's slide, which saw the Dow fall 380 points before finishing more than 97 points lower.

The Dow briefly slid to bear market levels yesterday, reaching a 20 percent drop from the index's high of 11,722.98 on Jan. 14, 2000.

But a late rally lured it out of bear territory. Before today's gain, the Dow had lost 1,468.77, or 13.5 percent, over the past 10 trading sessions.

Broader market indicators also rose today.

The Nasdaq composite index was up 30.98 at 1,928.68, but is still down nearly 62 percent from its own high of 5,048.62, reached March 10, 2000.

Wall Street's broadest measure, the Standard & Poor's 500, rose 22.25 to 1,139.83. The S&P 500 has lost more than a quarter of its value since peaking at 1,527.46 a year ago.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners nearly 2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 2,011 up, 1,027 down and 238 unchanged. Volume was 1.6 billion shares vs. 2 billion yesterday.

The NYSE composite index rose 11.52 to 577.87, the American Stock Exchange composite index gained 19.56 to 861.37 and the Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of smaller companies stocks, rose 10.47 to 443.27.

The Treasury's 10-year note fell 1332 10112; its yield rose 5 basis points to 4.81 percent. The 30-year bond fell 1932 to 1003032; its yield rose 4 basis points to 5.31 percent.

Analysts said investors were split over what direction the market will take, which means it likely will be some time before stocks can make a concerted move upward.

"They're not all on the same side of the fence," said Eugene Mintz, a financial market analyst and vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. He noted that some investors still are inclined to sell, while "others are saying, 'these are good companies. I'm going to buy.' "

The Dow, which until last week was resilient to the massive selloffs that devastated the Nasdaq over the past several months, has fallen to bear levels because investors believe the economy is getting much weaker, severely hampering the country's staple industry leaders.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average closed up 2.8 percent, or 360.57 points, today to 13,214.54.

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