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Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Thursday, March 9, 2000

Nasdaq explodes past 5,000

The index soars 150 to run its gain
this year to 24% while the slumping
Dow jumps 154 to retake 10,000

Associated Press


NEW YORK -- The Nasdaq composite index soared to its first close above 5,000 today as the technology stocks that dominate its ranks lifted the entire market and pulled the Dow Jones industrials out of a slump to retake the benchmark 10,000 level.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 149.69, or 3.06 percent, to close at 5,046.86.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 154.20, or 1.56 percent, to 10,010.73, a gain that was largely driven by its technology components. Broader stock indicators also closed higher.

The Nasdaq was propelled by surging shares of computer and and Internet stocks, such as Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and I2 Technologies Inc., on the belief that these types of companies will have the fastest earnings growth.

"They are not cheap, but money is chasing growth," said Brian Kirkpatrick, a money manager with Bridges Investment Counsel in Omaha, Neb., which oversees $1.5 billion.

Kirkpatrick said he has been buying Texas Instruments Inc.

Investors also snapped up shares of the name-your-price retailer

The Nasdaq composite briefly crossed 5,000 on Tuesday, but fell back as investors cashed in stocks to capture profits from its stunning rise this year.

The Nasdaq smashed through its latest thousand-point milestone just 46 trading sessions after it first closed above 4,000. By contrast, it took the Dow nearly nine months to rise from 4,000 to 5,000 in 1995. So far this year, the Nasdaq, dominated by technology stocks, is up 24 percent, while the Dow, which has been depressed by concerns about industrial company profits, is down nearly 13 percent.

Technology stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange also rose today. Computer maker Hewlett-Packard soared, driving the Dow into positive territory. America Online also rose. Telecommunications stocks also rose amid a wave of takeover talk.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 34.99, or 2.56 percent, to 1,401.69.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by a more than 4-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,687 up, 1,268 down and 505 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 1.12 billion shares vs. 1.2 billion yesterday. The NYSE composite index rose 11.77, nearly 2 percent, to 603.00. The American Stock Exchange composite index gained 17.36, or 1.73 percent, to 1,018.76 and the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks climbed 11.37 points, or 1.9 percent, to end at 606.50. The Russell 2000 is up 20 percent so far in 2000.

Some Dow average stocks, including International Paper Co., and Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. fell, limiting the blue-chip average's gains. "Investors are fearful that rate increases will hurt" industrial, consumer and financial companies, said Jim Awad, chairman of Awad Asset Management Inc.

Bonds higher

Associated Press


NEW YORK - U.S. 30-year bonds rose for the first day in five as the Treasury Department repurchased $1 billion of longer-term debt, the government's first buyback in seven decades.

The Treasury, which plans to buy back as much as $30 billion of securities this year, received $8.8 billion face value in offers of outstanding 30-year bonds. The debt it agreed to buy back had first been sold between 1985 and 1990.

The 30-year bond rose , or $1.25 per $1,000 face amount, to a price of 101 11/32. Its yield fell 1 basis point to 6.15 percent. Benchmark 10-year yields declined 4 basis points to 6.34 percent and two-year yields fell 2 basis points to 6.47 percent. Thirty-year bonds, which had risen point before the buyback results were announced, later pared gains as dealers sold debt they offered to the Treasury but wasn't accepted, said Peter Kraft of Zions First National Bank. A late surge in the stock market also reduced the allure of Treasuries, analysts said.

More gains may be hard to come by because the Treasury's plans have been priced into the market for weeks now, said David Schroeder, who invests about $1 billion at American Century Investments.

Bonds have gotten expensive "on the notion the Treasury will eliminate them" so yields will have trouble falling below 6 percent, said Schroeder, who still favors debt due between 2015 and 2020. They should do better than two-year notes, whose yields may rise to 6.75 percent, he said.

Treasuries also rose as traders bought back government debt they sold as hedges against possible losses from multibillion dollar corporate bond sales this week.

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