Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Dow rises at midday
amid economic worries

Associated Press

NEW YORK >> A round of light bargain hunting revived blue chips today, but analysts were unimpressed, saying earnings remain a problem for the market and the economy.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.46 at 9,807.81, recovering slightly from yesterday's 162-point drop. But the Nasdaq composite index slipped 10.39 to 1,843.74 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 0.47 at 1,152.82. Advancers outnumbered decliners 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was 546.54 million shares, vs. 593.89 million at the same point yesterday. The Russell 2000 index rose 2.10 to 444.30.

The price of the Treasury's 10-year note was down 3/32 point, or 93.75 per $1,000 in face value, while its yield rose to 4.98 percent from 4.96 percent yesterday. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 30-year bonds were down 1/16 point and yielded 5.47 percent, up from 5.46 percent yesterday.

"The question here is, 'Is this sustainable?' In an hour, the market could be back down," said Larry Wachtel, market analyst at Prudential Securities.

Drug stocks, a favorite in times of economic weakness, led the market's upturn. Dow component Johnson & Johnson rose $1.47 to $87.75. But worries of what is ahead again preoccupied Wall Street. An earnings warning from Coca-Cola Enterprises sent the stock down $3.05 to $18.07, a 14 percent decline. The firm bottles beverages for Coca-Cola, which saw its stock fall $1.44 to $44.51.

International Paper dropped $1.36 to $34.86, a 3.8 percent drop, after reducing its first-quarter outlook because of weak business conditions.

Technology issues were pulled lower by continuing losses in Nortel Networks, down 27 cents at $13.73. Nortel's warning Tuesday of lower-than-expected earnings and more job cuts cut short a market recovery that had begun late last week.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average tumbled 5.0 percent, or 693.15 points, to 13,072.36.

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