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Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Monday, March 27, 2000

Dow off 87 on
Microsoft worries

Associated Press


NEW YORK -- Microsoft Corp. deflated every major stock market index today, falling steeply after the government reportedly rejected the company's offer to settle their antitrust case. Microsoft's decline masked strength in other technology issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 86.87 to close at 11,025.85. The blue-chip index lost an early gain due to Microsoft's weakness and profit-taking in the financial shares that soared last week. Broader stock indicators closed modestly lower. The New York Stock Exchange recorded its lowest volume of the year.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 4.47 to 4,958.56, and the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 3.60 to 1,523.86. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 4-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,680 down, 1,283 up and 492 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 880.95 million shares vs. 1.034 billion Friday. The NYSE composite index fell 3.36 to 649.14; the American Stock Exchange index fell 8.64 to 1,023.87; the Russell 2000 index fell 0.36 to 573.65. The 30-year Treasury bond's yield fell to 5.97 percent from 5.98 Friday, as its price rose 5/32, or $1.56 cents per $1,000 face amount.

Microsoft, the most actively traded Nasdaq stock, fell $7.62 to close at $104.06. Sources have told The Associated Press that government lawyers have concluded Microsoft's offer to settle their antitrust case was inadequate, and they are preparing for U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to deliver a verdict as early as tomorrow Jackson has previously hinted he will rule strongly against Microsoft. Last week, Microsoft shares rose as much as 12 percent amid reports that the company was near a settlement.

Many other tech firms advanced today. IBM rose after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised its rating on the stock from "neutral" to "outperform." Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems rose as fund managers scrambled to add them to their portfolios before the first quarter ends on Friday.

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