Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Bargain hunters
lifted battered market

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Bargain hunters showed up on Wall Street yesterday following two days of steep drops, giving stocks a late-day boost despite a revenue warning from Advanced Micro Devices.

But the buying was less than resolute. While the major indexes finished with gains, declining issues outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq stock market.

Decliners had a 5 to 3 lead over advancers on the NYSE, where consolidated volume was moderate at 1.84 billion shares, below Tuesday's 2.72 billion. On the Nasdaq decliners held a 4 to 3 advantage.

"I think it is going to be a slow process for investors to get back to giving solid buy orders," said Stephen Carl, head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group. "You are going to see traders and bottom fishers come in for attractive prices. But that will be a short-term pop and things will return to where they are now."

The upturn followed two straight days of big losses, which saw the Nasdaq composite and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes close below the lows that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Nasdaq also recorded a new five-year closing low on Tuesday.

"We need some time. It is hard to say the declines are over with just yet," said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist at Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 47.22, or 0.5 percent, at 9,054.97. The Dow recouped a modest portion of its 235-point loss from Monday and Tuesday.

The broader market was also higher, except for the Russell 2000 index, which fell 3.37, or 0.8 percent, to 429.47.

But the Nasdaq rose 22.35, or 1.7 percent, to 1,380.17, having lost 45.95 Tuesday and closing below its post-Sept. 11 low of 1,423.19 on Monday. On Tuesday, the Nasdaq had its lowest close since May 19, 1997.

The S&P 500 advanced 5.90, or 0.6 percent, to 953.99, after falling 20.56 Tuesday and closing below its post-Sept. 11 low of 965.80.

The price of the Treasury's 10-year note was down 9/32 point yesterday, while its yield rose to 4.76 percent from 4.73 percent late Tuesday. Two-year Treasury notes were up 1/16 point and yielded 2.72 percent, down from 2.76 percent Tuesday.

The advance was limited by today's market closure for the Independence Day holiday. Investors were wary of making big commitments ahead of the long weekend.

Analysts attributed the late-day upturn to stocks having hit very low levels.

After hitting their 52-week lows this week, AOL Time Warner rose $1.54 to $14.06 and Intel advanced $1.18 to $17.75.

Other big winners were Home Depot, which surged $3.10 to $36.85, and IBM, which rose $1.93 to $70.51.

But chip maker AMD fell 37 cents to $8.43 after lowering its second-quarter sales estimate to $600 million from the previous expected range of $620 million to $700 million.

Investors have been selling stocks for six weeks on confluence of negative factors: earnings prospects that remain bleak, fears of terrorism and the continuing string of accounting scandals that have made Wall Street question companies' integrity.

A series of debacles at companies such as WorldCom, Tyco, ImClone Systems, Global Crossing, and Adelphia Communications have reduced investors' already waning confidence in the market.

Yesterday's economic news was mixed. Orders to U.S. factories rose 0.7 percent in May, according to the Commerce Department. The increase was slightly better than analysts were expecting.

But the Institute of Supply Management reported that its non-manufacturing index fell to 57.2 in May, a bigger-than-expected decline.

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