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Stocks close mixed as computer shares fall High-tech slump offset by strong showing by Chrysler, Caterpillar

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday as signs of a robust economy drove up shares of Chrysler Corp. and Caterpillar Inc. Disappointing earnings from Hewlett-Packard Co. triggered a slump in computer shares.

The Nasdaq composite index, led by Oracle Corp., rose 5.75 to 1,239.31 to set its 26th record of the year,

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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9.61 to 5,635.05, led by Caterpillar, General Electric Co. and Coca-Cola Co. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.57 to 664.85, and would have been positive if Hewlett-Packard hadn't slumped $8.625 to $105.125.

The American Stock Exchange market value index rose 2.18 to a record 602.73. The Russell 2,000 index, which gauges shares of small and mid-size companies, also reached a high, climbing 0.65 to 358.76.

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The Wilshire 5,000 index, which tracks companies listed on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock markets, rose 0.33 to a record 6,641.77. The S&P; midcap index also set a record, rising 0.63 to 241.38.

Declining stocks led advancers by 1,296 to 1,074 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume of about 392 million shares lagged the 423 million shares the exchange has been averaging since the beginning of the year.

A rise in bond yields after an unexpectedly strong government report on housing starts initially sent stocks lower, but not for long. Housing starts in April rose 5.9 percent, while economists forecast an 0.8 percent decline.

The yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose to 6.91 percent, up 8 basis points.

The Dow industrials were led higher by shares of Caterpillar, up $2 to $68.75, and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., up $1.75 to $67.375. The benchmark 30-stock average was dragged down by shares of oil companies as the United Nations moved closer to allowing Iraq to sell oil.

Texaco Inc. fell $1 to $82.25; Chevron Corp. fell 62.5 cents to $58.375; and Exxon Corp. fell 75 cents to $83.875.

Computer shares fell after Hewlett-Packard reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $1.37 a share, 9 cents short of what analysts expected. Hewlett-Packard slumped $10.75 to $103. Wednesday, the stock closed at an all-time high.

Among other computer makers, Digital Equipment Corp. fell 37.5 cents to $56.375; International Business Machines Corp. slipped cents to $108.625; Apple Computer Inc. fell 12.5 cents to $28.375; and Dell Computer Corp. slid 87.5 cents to $48.50.

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Microsoft Corp. fell 50 cents to $117.125 after Morgan Stanley Inc. downgraded the software company to "outperform" from "strong buy." Morgan Stanley lowered its investment opinion solely because Microsoft's shares recently climbed to a record.

Chrysler, up $2 to $66.875, helped boost the market after its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split and increased its dividend to 70 cents a share from 60 cents.

The Dow industrials also were helped by Boeing Co., up $1 to $82.375. China Airlines, Taiwan's largest airline, signed an agreement to buy eight Boeing 747-400 jetliners for $1.4 billion. And UAL Corp.'s United Airlines is on the verge of ordering 13 or more 777 aircraft from Boeing, worth more than $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal said.

Shares of Case Corp. rose 37.5 cents to $53.50 after the Journal said higher commodity prices spurred sales of farm tractors in April and will probably keep buying robust later this year.

Shares of A+ Network Inc., CompUSA Inc. and Quaker Oats Co. rose, again confirming that investors will reward corporate attempts to control costs and raise profits. A+ Network soared $4.75 to $20.25 after Metrocall Inc. said it would buy the paging company for about $341 million. Metrocall fell 37.5 cents to $20.125.

Shares of CompUSA Inc. rose $5.125 to $44.875. The computer retailer said it would buy PCs Compleat Inc. in a stock swap valued at about $124 million.

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Pub Date: 5/17/96


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