Stocks weaken Dow loses 31 points; Treasury bond yields, tobacco shares blamed; Nasdaq manages to rise


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks retreated yesterday for the first time since Aug. 13, hurt by rising Treasury bond yields and a slump in Philip Morris Cos. and other tobacco shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 31.44 to 5,689.82, sacrificing the past two days' 31.81-point advance.

Philip Morris, the biggest cigarette company in the United States and maker of Marlboros, fell $3.875 to $87.625 on the New York Stock Exchange, chopping almost 12 points from the Dow industrials.

RJR Nabisco Holding Corp., maker of Camel cigarettes, dropped $1.375 to $25.25; Loews Corp., maker of Kents, dropped $1.25 to $76.625; tobacco processor Universal Corp. fell 75 cents to $26.125; and snuff-maker UST Inc. fell 87.5 cents to $30.875.

Software stocks skidded for a second day, after Goldman Sachs & Co. removed Oracle Corp. from its "priority list" of recommended stocks. Oracle, the second-most active stock with 7.4 million shares traded, dropped $1.125 to $37.875. Goldman pointed to weaker-than-expected sales of Oracle's database management software in Europe for its downgrade.

In the broad market, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.33, then rallied to 665.07, a 0.62-point loss. It was the index's second straight decline. The Russell 2,000 index of small stocks fell 0.26 to 328.94; the Wilshire 5,000 index dropped 7.96 to 6496.6; the S&P; midcap index rose .51 to 231.31; and the American Stock Exchange market value index dropped 1.61 to 557.68.

The Nasdaq composite index rebounded late in the day to 1,126.84, up 2.17, from a 5.86-point loss. Cisco Systems Inc., Amgen Inc. and Intel Corp. led that index higher.

About six stocks fell for every five that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled some 348 million shares.

Yields on benchmark 30-year Treasury bonds climbed to 6.83 percent yesterday from 6.79 percent yesterday. Bond prices fell amid concern that signs of brisk economic growth might still force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year, after leaving them unchanged Tuesday.

Among the biggest gainers yesterday, Newbridge Networks Corp. soared $9.375 to $59.375. Fiscal first-quarter earnings at the Canadian telephone-equipment maker jumped 64 percent because of record sales of switching devices.

Wet Seal Inc. spurted $4.625 to a record $34.375. The Irvine, Calif.-based women's clothing retailer reported earning 25 cents a share in its second quarter, compared with a loss of 6 cents a share last year. Analysts had expected earnings of 12 cents.

Jenny Craig Inc. more accurately reflected the tone of the stock market, sliding $5.625 to $11.50. The franchiser of 777 weight-loss centers said publicity about new diet drugs hurt business this summer.

CompuServe Corp. tumbled $1.625 to $11.875. The No. 2 online service reported a fiscal first-quarter loss and warned of another loss in its second quarter.

H&R; Block Inc., which plans to spin off to shareholders its 80.1 percent stake in CompuServe in early November, fell 75 cents to 27.625.

Players International Inc. slid 81.25 cents to $6.0625 after Salomon Brothers downgraded the gaming company to "hold" from "buy" because of weaker revenues at casinos in Louisiana and Illinois.

TSX Corp. sank $2.1875 to $11.8125. The company said earnings in its fiscal first quarter rose to 22 cents a share from the year-earlier 20 cents, matching analysts' expectations. Still, sales at its ad insertion business dropped $2.2 million and profit from operations by $1.7 million from last year.

Deere & Co. gained $1.125 to $40 and Case Corp. rose 87.5 cents to $47.375 after the farm-equipment manufacturers were added to the "recommended list" of stocks at Goldman Sachs.

Pub Date: 8/22/96

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