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Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services Friday, September 5, 2003


Nasdaq win streak
longest in 3 years


NEW YORK >> The Nasdaq composite index notched its longest winning streak in more than three years yesterday after strong gains in factory orders and worker productivity fueled investor expectations of a rebounding economy.

Other market indicators also advanced, reaching heights not seen in more than a year.

Buying accelerated in the afternoon despite an unexpected rise in jobless claims. Analysts said investors remained upbeat and were willing to make additional modest bets on the market -- particularly in tech stocks -- even after several days of rallies.

"It's hard to doubt the economy is just going to get stronger and stronger," said Peter Dunay, chief market strategist at Wall Street Access, a New York-based brokerage firm. "Productivity numbers are very positive. Factory orders are picking up. Retail sales continue to be strong."

The Nasdaq climbed 16.07, or 0.9 percent, to 1,868.97, for a seven-day gain of 104 points. The last time the tech-focused index notched seven straight days of gains was the period ended February 8, 2000; yesterday's close also was the highest level since March 19, 2002, when the Nasdaq stood at 1,880.87.

The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 19.44, or 0.2 percent, at 9,587.90, for a five-day gain of 254 points. The blue-chip average is at its highest level since June 18, 2002.

And the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.70, or 0.2 percent, to 1,027.97, for an eight-day gain of nearly 35 points. The last time the index posted an eight-day winning streak was the period ended March 21; yesterday's close is the highest level since June 18, 2002.

Advancing issues beat decliners 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume was moderate at 1.89 billion shares, compared with 2.17 billion traded Wednesday.

The Russell 2000 index rose 1.85, or 0.4 percent, to 512.56. The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller company stocks, gained 1.85, or 0.4 percent, to 512.56. The NYSE composite index rose 8.75, or 0.2 percent, to 5,768.55. The American Stock Exchange composite index gained 6.44, or 0.7 percent, to 989.25.

The 10-year note rose 2 1/32 to 97 1516, with its yield falling to 4.51 percent. The two-year note gained 732 to 100 732, with its yield declining to 1.89 percent.

The Commerce Department reported yesterday that U.S. factory orders rose 1.6 percent in July. Analysts were expecting a more modest 0.8 percent gain.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that U.S. productivity -- or the amount an employee produces for each hour of work -- rose at an annual rate of 6.8 percent in the second quarter. The reading beat analysts' expectations of a 6.4 percent growth rate.

But in a separate report, the department said new jobless claims jumped last week by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 to 413,000.


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