Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Dow rises as
investors remain wary

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Stock prices closed mixed today as investors tried to sort out conflicting reports on the health of earnings and the economy. The market fluctuated throughout the session before ending with blue chips higher and tech stocks falling.

Analysts said investors took a defensive approach, seeking safer stocks and shying away from more risky issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.15 to 10,692.35. The Nasdaq composite index fell 24.92 to 2,034.88, but the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 5.77 to 1,234.52. Advancers outnumbered decliners nearly 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange , with 1,987 up, 1,098 down and 207 unchanged. Volume was 1.5 billion shares vs. 1.2 billion yesterday.

The NYSE composite index rose 5.86 to 629.36, the American Stock Exchange composite index jumped 14.56 to 938.13 and the Russell 2000 index rose 4.82 to 477.56.

The Treasury's 10-year note rose 19/32 to 98 21/32; its yield fell 8 basis points to 5.18 percent. The 30-year bond jumped 31/32 to 95 10/32; its yield fell 7 basis points to 5.70 percent.

Investors throughout this week have been faced with sometimes confusing data about earnings and the economy.

"There's is a lot for the market to digest," said Brian Belski, fundamental market strategist for US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

For example, the market welcomed news from the Labor Department today that Americans' wages and benefits in the first quarter made their biggest jump in a year, a sign that workers haven't been hurt by the slowing economy.

However, the department also had some negative news -- first-time claims for state unemployment benefits last week hit a five-year high. Yesterday, the government said new-home sales shot up in March and that factory orders for durable goods rose strongly, mainly on transportation orders.

An earnings warning from wireless technology maker Qualcomm tempered investors' enthusiasm for tech stocks, which has been slowly mounting, and prompted them to seek the relative security of the old-line manufacturers and financial stocks that dominate the blue chips. Qualcomm plunged $4.87 to $58.05 after warning late yesterday of lower profits for the third quarter and remainder of the year. It met second-quarter expectations.

Chip stocks were still weak after being downgraded Monday by Merrill Lynch. Vitesse Semiconductor tumbled $3.98 to $29.02. Intel, the Dow's chip component, slipped 36 cents to $28.64, although its CEO made bullish statements to a group of analysts. Craig Barrett said he expects the chip industry to have an annual growth rate of 16 percent to 17 percent and that he is excited about future business.

Corning, the biggest maker of fiber and cable used in telecommunications networks, said after the market closed that first-quarter profit rose 71 percent on higher sales. The company said it will cut 4,300 jobs to reduce expenses and lowered its 2001 profit and sales forecasts for the second time.

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