Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Dow approaches 10,000
as retail sales improve

By Lisa Singhania
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Relatively solid retail sales figures inspired another rally on Wall Street today as investors grew more confident about an impending economic recovery. The Dow Jones industrials scored their best close in more than a month and their third triple-digit gain in four sessions.

But analysts still cautioned against too much optimism, noting that investor sentiment remains fragile. Stocks have moved mostly lower in recent weeks, in between occasional short-lived surges, on concerns that prices are still too high given the uncertain prognosis for corporate earnings.

The Dow closed up 125.93 at 9,989.67, its highest close since Jan. 10. The Dow rose 118 points last Friday, and 140 on Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 11.01 to 1,118.51 while the Nasdaq composite index gained 24.95 to 1,859.16. Advancers led decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,995 up, 1,140 down and 212 unchanged. Volume was nearly 1.20 billion shares. The NYSE composite index rose 4.61 to 576.09, the American Stock Exchange composite index gained 9.33 to 847.96 and the Russell 2000 index rose 4.32 to 476.33.

The Treasury's 2-year note fell 2/32 to 99 2932; its yield rose 3 basis points to 3.04 percent. The 10-year note lost 2/32 to 99 532; its yield rose 1 basis point to 4.98 percent. The 30-year bond was unchanged at 98 2632; its yield remained at 5.46 percent.

Investors were encouraged by a Commerce Department report showing retail sales rose by a satisfactory 1.2 percent in January, excluding volatile automobile sales. Auto sales fell by 4.3 percent, but that decline was anticipated as zero-percent financing and other incentives waned. The news helped boost retail stocks. Home Depot was up 93 cents at $51.24. Office Depot climbed $2.30 to $18.49 after increasing its estimates for future earnings.

Applied Materials rose $3.22 to $47.93 after announcing a $45 million first-quarter loss yesterday that beat expectations. It said it expects orders in the current quarter to grow 10 percent to 15 percent.

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