NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday as Eastman Kodak Co. gained on strong earnings, countering losses in technology shares and health-care stocks. A round of computer-guided "buy" orders helped to lift stocks.
"This market is earnings-motivated, and it's sending us all over the place," said Todd Clark, a trader at Rodman & Renshaw. "If this market closed down a point and people thought nothing happened today, they'd be sorely mistaken."
Eastman Kodak's shares rose $4.625, to $57, a record high, after the photo company said first-quarter earnings increased 80 percent, thanks to favorable currency exchange rates and lower interest expenses. The stock's gain accounted for more than 12 points on the Dow Jones industrial average, which rose 28.01, to 4,207.14, after dropping 22.13. About 1,227 stocks fell, compared with the 942 that rose, on the New York Stock Exchange.
Besides Kodak, Caterpillar Inc and International Paper Co. led the gains; International Business Machines Corp., Merck & Co. and Coca-Cola Co. led the decline.
Caterpillar's stock finished up $1, at $57.375, after it reported earnings rose 56 percent, extending the heavy machinery maker's string of record profits to five consecutive quarters. International Paper rebounded $1.875, to $73.875, after falling 4.3 percent earlier this week, on renewed confidence the paper industry can remain profitable, analysts said.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index also turned around some of its decline, paring its losses to 504.92, down 0.45, after falling 4.18 earlier in the day. Photography, food and utility stocks were the biggest winners; drug, health care and computer issues lost.
The gains late in the day helped to temper a plunge in computer, software and semiconductor issues that pushed the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index down 9.19, to 816.55. U.S. Healthcare Inc., Bay Networks Inc. and Intel Corp. contributed to the drop.
The decline also helped make yesterday the busiest day ever for the Nasdaq stock market. More than 453 million shares changed hands, compared with 415 million traded on Oct. 13, 1993. About 4,900 stocks are traded on the electronic market.
Big Board trading volume rose to 378.1 million shares from 345.2 million shares Tuesday.
Technology stocks fell after software maker Lotus Development Corp. said it lost 36 cents a share in the first quarter, a worse showing than analysts had estimated. Bay Networks Inc.'s earnings report also disappointed investors, traders said.
"If you don't deliver spectacular earnings, you're going to be put on the sacrificial block," said David Holt, vice president of equity research and strategy at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "And the downside surprise is going to rub off on all companies that are in the same business."
Lotus's shares closed unchanged, at $30.75, after falling $5.75 earlier in the day. Bay Networks' stock fell almost 10 percent, dropping $3.81, to $33.68, even though its fiscal third-quarter results met Wall Street's earnings predictions.
Among other technology issues, Cisco Systems Inc. dropped 75 cents, to $38.625, and Intel shares fell $1, to $93.31, having reached 52-week high of $95 last week. Shares of IBM, scheduled to announce earnings this morning, lost $1.125, to $87.125. Apple Computer Inc. was down $1.125, at $36.375.
Besides technology stocks, shares of managed health-care companies helped lead stocks lower after analysts cut ratings on several companies because of concern about increasing pressure on profit margins. U.S. Healthcare Inc. led the decline and was the most actively traded stock on U.S. exchanges, losing $6.50, to $33.25.
Oxford Health Plans Inc. dropped $7.625, $46.625. United Healthcare Corp.'s stock lost $4.25, to $39.375, and Humana Inc. finished down $2.75, to $21.875.