Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Monday, September 24, 2001

Bulls stampede
down Wall St.

The Dow surges 368.05 for its
5th-best point gain ever and ends
an 8-session losing streak

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Stocks surged higher today, carrying the Dow Jones industrials up more than 360 points, as bargain hunters returned to help Wall Street rebound from one of its worst weeks ever. But the market remained extremely nervous, and no one was betting that the gains would hold.

Investors will be wary of making or sticking by any major moves until it's clearer how the government will retaliate for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, analyst said.

They are also trying to determine how much and for how long the economy will suffer.

The economic impacts of the attacks already have been felt as companies have warned of weaker profits and laid off thousands of workers as they expect consumers to spend and borrow less and take fewer vacations.

The Dow closed today up 368.05, or 4.5 percent, at 8,603.86, after falling 1,369.70 last week, its biggest-ever weekly decline. The Dow, which had been down for eight straight trading sessions, was up as much as 413.51 in the last hour today before giving back some of its gain, which was still large enough to be the blue chips' fifth-largest daily point gain. Like the Dow, the market's broader indicators bounced back after falling sharply last week, the first week of trading following the attacks, to their lowest levels in three years.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 76.22, or 5.4 percent, to 1,499.41, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 37.65, or 3.9 percent, at 1,003.45.

Advancers outnumbered decliners nearly 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 2,408 up, 801 down and 170 unchanged. Volume came to 1.71 billion shares, compared with 2.30 billion traded Friday.

The NYSE composite index rose 17.21 to 521.42, the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 6.16 to 780.66 and the Russell 2000 index, the barometer of smaller company stocks, rose 14.90 to 393.79.

The Treasury's 2-year note fell 2/32 to 101 11/32; its yield rose 4 basis points to 2.90 percent. The 10-year note lost 7/32 to 102 6/32; its yield rose 3 basis points to 4.72 percent. The 30-year bond rose 1/8 to 97 1/8; its yield fell 1 basis point to 5.57 percent.

Today's rebound didn't mean the market has overcome its uncertainty -- it was more the result of investors deciding to take some chances on stocks at discounted prices, analysts said. "At the pace of decline of last week, we were between five and six weeks before the Dow 30 being worth zero. And, that doesn't make sense at all," said Bob Stovall, market strategist at Prudential Securities.

Analysts also said prices will fluctuate in the near term as investors ponder how much risk they are willing to take amid the economic and political uncertainty.

"Last week, there was kind of a panicky aspect, a throwing in of the towel. I think there is a realization that the lower prices have taken into account a lot of the bad stuff," said Charles Pradilla, chief investment strategist at SG Cowen. "That is not to say that there won't be more pain ... We will continue to vacillate around."

Airline stocks, which fell sharply because hijacked commercial planes were used in the attacks, rose on a $15 billion government aid package announced over the weekend.

Meanwhile, crude oil plunged 15 percent, the biggest decline since 1991, on expectations that the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11 will trigger a recession, reducing demand for such products as diesel and gasoline. Prices are down 20 percent since the strikes on New York and Washington forced airlines to cancel flights. Crude oil for November delivery fell $3.96 to $22.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest closing price since Oct. 29, 1999, and biggest one-day decline since Jan. 17, 1991.

Gold futures fell as a rebound in stocks reduced investor demand for precious metals as a haven. Gold prices had soared as much as 9.6 percent to a 19-month high on Sept. 14 as investors sought protection from financial turmoil. Gold for December delivery fell $2, or 0.7 percent, to $290.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures are up 6.3 percent this year.

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