Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Dow ends flat;
Nasdaq up 42

NEW YORK -- Stocks closed narrowly mixed today after a lackluster session as traders, chastened by yesterday's big drop, refrained from placing any big bets.

NATO's launching of air strikes against Yugoslavia had no apparent effect on the market.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.99 at 9,666.84, after trading in a narrow range all day. Worries that earnings wouldn't meet expectations pushed the Dow 218.68 lower yesterday, dealing the blue-chip index its second-biggest point loss this year.

"I think the decline yesterday really confirmed the danger signals," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment strategist at First Albany Corp. "Every buyer that you talk to has basically just backed away and put their strategies on hold."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.45 to 1,268.59, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index, which had been weak recently because of concerns that computer-related companies might report disappointing first-quarter earnings, jumped 42.44 to 2,365.28.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by 1,507 to 1,439 on the NYSE, with 557 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 763.6 million shares vs. 808.67 million yesterday.

The NYSE composite index rose 1.14 to 596.59, and the American Stock Exchange composite index rose 0.28 to 703.60.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.03 to 384.40.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond fell to 5.53 percent compared to 5.56 percent yesterday.

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