Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Wall Street selloff
ends win streak
for Nasdaq

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Stocks fell today as investors decided to cash in profits from a market that has been rallying hard since early April.

The pullback, which had been anticipated, ended the Nasdaq composite index's six-session advance, its longest winning streak since February 2000. The Nasdaq closed the session down 70.39 at 2,243.56. The Dow Jones industrial average stumbled 151.73 to 11,105.51. The market's broadest measure, the Standard & Poor's 500, fell 20.33 to 1,289.05.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 2,036 down, 1,031 up and 218 unchanged. Volume was 1.13 billion shares vs. 1.25 billion yesterday. The NYSE composite index fell 8.49 to 652.90, the American Stock Exchange composite index dropped 11.81 to 935.56 and the Russell 2000 index fell 9.87 to 507.36. The Treasury's 10-year note rose 1/8 to 97 2/32; its yield fell 2 basis points to 5.39 percent. The 30-year bond fell 1/8 to 94 6/32; its yield rose 1 basis point to 5.79 percent.

The stock losses were predictable given the market's recent advance. The Nasdaq gained 231.93 in the previous six sessions while the Dow advanced 384.27 during the past five trading days.

"After the good-size runup we have had, you can expect some profit taking. Also, the Dow is bumping along near its old high, which is always a difficult point to penetrate," said Eugene G. Mintz, financial markets analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The Dow's closing high is 11,722.98, reached Jan. 14, 2000.

Mintz said politics were a minor contributor to the market's downturn as senior aides to Sen. James Jeffords, R-Vt., said he intends to abandon his party and become an independent. Such a switch would end GOP control of the Senate and could affect President Bush's agenda, including the income tax cut favored by Wall Street.

The main reason for today's lower stock prices is Wall Street's surge that began early last month, primarily because of the five interest rate cuts made by the Federal Reserve this year. "We are looking for the resurgence of a bull market. It probably has already started," Mintz said.

Among tech shares, the makers of semiconductor equipment fell after the industry reported late yesterday that customer orders in April dropped 41 percent from March. Applied Materials, the industry's largest company, finished down $3.65 at $52.94.

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