Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services Thursday, November 13, 2003

Semiconductor sales
give stocks a boost

NEW YORK >> Wall Street broke out of its slump yesterday, surging higher after a forecasted jump in semiconductor sales gave investors a reason buy after three days of declines. The Dow Jones industrials rose more than 110 points, while the Nasdaq composite index gained more than 2 percent.

Larger-cap stocks led the day, including technology bellwethers IBM Corp. and Intel Corp., which benefited from the Gartner Inc. forecast. Traders attributed some of the momentum to the week's slow start; the bond markets were closed Tuesday for Veterans Day. Many investors were returning to Wall Street after a long weekend, and with money to spend, said Brian G. Belski, fundamental market strategist at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

"Investors this year have conditioned themselves to buy the dip, and today they saw an opportunity," Belski said. "We're in a little bit of a news vacuum ... so right now they're going to react to any news blip at all."

The Dow ended the day up 111.04, or 1.1 percent, at 9,848.83. The Nasdaq closed up 42.36, or 2.2 percent, at 1,973.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 11.96, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,058.53.

Advancers outnumbered decliners more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume was heavier, at 1.75 billion shares traded, compared with 1.47 billion shares Tuesday. The Russell 2000 index closed up 12.09, or 2.3 percent, at 540.66. The NYSE composite index gained 77.74, or 1.3 percent, to 6,018.94. The American Stock Exchange composite index rose 14.07, or 1.3 percent, to 1,076.15.

The Treasury's two-year note edged up 1/32 to 99 832, with its yield falling 2 basis points to 2.01 percent. The 10-year note gained 1032 to 98 2432, with its yield falling 4 basis points to 4.41 percent.

The market appears to be in a "consolidation phase ... with shallow pullbacks met with buying" said Peter Cardillo, president and chief strategist of Global Partner Securities Inc.

"Once the consolidation phase is over I think the second leg of this bull run will commence. That will probably take us up to new highs by the end of the year."

Fueling yesterday's tech rally, market research firm Gartner said it expects worldwide semiconductor sales to increase more than 20 percent next year. Chipmaker Intel rose 69 cents to close at $34.10. IBM also made gains, rising $1.33 to $90.69.

After the bell, Applied Materials Inc. announced earnings that beat analyst estimates by a penny, excluding charges largely due to restructuring costs. The company, which manufactures machines that make semiconductors, closed the regular session up 54 cents at $25.44, and rose more than 3 percent in after-hours trading. Tech investors were also looking forward to results from computer manufacturer Dell Inc. today.

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