Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Dow loses 127

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Prices retreated on Wall Street today, dousing an early rally in technology stocks, as interest rates rose in response to several reports of the economy's continuing strength.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 127.10 to 9,786.16. The Dow opened higher, climbing 88.80 to 10,002.06 in the first hour of trading, but quickly fell back.

Broader stock indicators faded in the final hour as technology shares trimmed early gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 14.38 to 1,286.47, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 18.89 to 2,461.40.

Decliners led advancers by a 7-to-6 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,397 up, 1,638 down and 505 unchanged. NYSE volume was 926.92 million shares vs. 731.25 million yesterday.

The NYSE composite index fell 5.06 to 603.59; the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 1.33 to 710.30; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 1.15 to 397.63.

Investors were adjusting their holdings ahead of the long weekend. Bryan Piskorowski, a market analyst at Prudential Securities, said they were "just tired, tired, tired," after pushing the Dow industrials to their first close above 10,000 on Monday.

Piskorowski said investors were also concerned about Friday's release of unemployment data, especially because the stock market will be closed that day in observance of Good Friday.

There is widespread fear that a drop in the unemployment rate will cause interest rates to rise, as they did today following some strong economic reports. The yield on the 30-year Treasury rose to 5.62 percent from 5.58 late yesterday.

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