Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Tuesday, February 2, 1999

Dow off 71.58

NEW YORK -- Stocks prices dropped sharply today as investors, worried that higher interest rates will sack future corporate earnings, took profits in technology shares for the second day in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 71.58 to close at 9,274.12. The Dow had cut its worst loss of the day -- 147.53 points -- in less than half.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 11.01 to 1,261.99, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 46.67 to 2,463.42.

Decliners led advancers by a 7-to-4 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,104 up, 1,901 down and 513 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 839 million shares vs. 794.97 million yesterday.

The NYSE composite index fell 3.36 to 594.10, and the American Stock Exchange composite index dropped 3.00 to 709.63. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 4.35 to 421.73.

The price of the Treasury's main 30-year bond was off 7/8 point, or $8.75 per $1,000 in face value, by late afternoon, while its yield rose to 5.24 percent from 5.18 percent late yesterday. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.

In New York currency trading, the dollar fell to 112.05 yen, down sharply from 115.08 late yesterday. The drop was pinned on optimistic comments from Japanese officials. Eisuke Sakakibara, vice finance minister for international affairs, said Japan's financial crisis will be over "in a couple week's time," while Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said he was satisfied with a recent surge in interest rates.

Japanese "officials are trying to coax the market into believing the economy is going to recover," said Jeremy Fand, a currency strategist at BankBoston.

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