Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Dow off 32.42

NEW YORK -- Stocks fell today after the government said retail sales rose more than expected in November, indicating that consumers are spending freely despite higher interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.42 to close at 11,160.17. Broader indexes also closed lower, with technology stocks posting steep declines. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 12.05 at 1,403.17, and the Nasdaq composite index tumbled 86.38 at 3,571.77.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by a 2-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 2,035 down, 1,070 up and 437 unchanged.

NYSE volume totaled 1.02 billion shares vs. 976.61 million yesterday.

The NYSE composite index fell 4.44 to 632.07, the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 0.91 to 827.78 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 7.63 to 462.75.

The benchmark 30-year bond fell 1 3/8, or $13.75 per $1,000 face amount, to 97 19/32, the biggest drop since Aug. 6. Its yield rose 10 basis points to 6.30 percent.

Stocks fell after the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.9 percent in November, the largest gain in three months, as merchants headed into the busy holiday shopping season.

That report suggested to some investors that the Federal Reserve may not be finished raising interest rates. The central bank has raised short-term rates three times in 1999 in an effort to cool the economy and prevent inflation from escalating too sharply.

Technology stocks fell steeply as investors locked in profits from a recent run to record levels. The Nasdaq, dominated by technology stocks, has set 23 new closing highs since Oct. 29.

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