NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday, as homebuilding shares rallied after an unexpectedly strong housing construction report and banks retreated amid concern that rising interest rates would hurt their profits.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's index ambled to a 1.53-point gain, to 683.00, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.38 to 1,212.09.
Outside of housing shares, which make up a small portion of the major indexes, the S&P; and the Nasdaq took their cue from Intel Corp. The computer chip maker, whose products are found in the lion's share of personal computers, rose to a ninth straight record.
Disney shares helped the S&P; 500, surging $2.25 to $63.50.
On the broad market, the Russell 2,000 index of smaller shares was little changed, down 0.25 to 341.33. The Wilshire 5,000 index -- a gauge of shares listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq stock market and the American Stock Exchange -- rose 14.58 to 6,701.74; the American Stock Exchange market value index slid 1.21 to 565.44; and the S&P; mid-cap index finished up 0.48 at 238.54.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancers 1,262 to 1,104 on the New York Stock Exchange, where 395.9 million shares traded.
The government said housing starts unexpectedly rose 4.5 percent in August. Analysts polled by Bloomberg Business News expected a drop of 0.9 percent.
Housebuilders and mortgage lenders got an immediate boost. Centex Corp. rose 50 cents to $32.875, and Pulte Corp. climbed 25 cents to $25.75.
Dishwasher and refrigerator maker Whirlpool Corp. gained 12.5 cents to $51.25. Retailer Home Depot Inc. jumped 75 cents to $57.
Also benefiting were Ladd Furniture Inc., up 87.5 cents to $11.875; toolmaker Snap-On Inc., ahead 37.5 cents to $32.375; and developer Ryland Group Inc., which tacked on 25 cents to $14.25.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose 3 basis points to 7.04 percent.
Among banks, Keycorp fell 37.5 cents to $43; Bankers Trust New York Corp. fell 12.5 cents to $80.25; and Chase Manhattan Corp. lost 50 cents to $77.375. Dow member J. P. Morgan slid $1.25 to $90.
Software writer Microsoft Corp. climbed out of an early hole, trading up $1.25 to $137.75, another record close.
Intel jumped $1.375 to $97, and Sun Microsystems Inc. gained 87.5 cents to $61.875. America Online Inc. surged $3.375 to $33.125 after Merrill Lynch & Co. raised its third-quarter estimate to 16 cents a share from 12 cents.
Cabletron Systems Inc. shares fell $2.375 to $70. The network developer said it earned 86 cents a share in the fiscal second quarter, excluding charges, from 70 cents in the same quarter a year earlier. That's a penny below the average estimate in the most recent Zacks Investment Research poll. With charges, the company earned 50 cents a share.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s earnings rose to 21 cents in the second quarter from 16 cents a year earlier, in line with the average estimate of analysts polled by Zacks. It dropped 37.5 cents to $26.375.
Eastman Chemical Co. shares sank 25 cents to $56.125 after the plastics maker said it expects to earn between $1.20 and $1.35 a share, below the average estimate of $1.46.
Initial offerings found a receptive audience yesterday, as the pace of new stock sales picked up. RMH Teleservices Inc., which provides communications services to the insurance and financial industries, rose $2.50 to $15, after climbing as high as $17.
Cymer Inc., which makes lasers used in the manufacture of computer chips, saw its 3.34 million shares sold to the public jump $4.125 to $13.625. Rental Service Corp., which rents mechanical equipment to construction and manufacturing companies, boosted its 5.5 million newly public shares $5.75 to $21.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. won the recommendation of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel for a drug that treats multiple sclerosis, and its American depositary receipts rose $3.50 to $47.
Shares of PHP Healthcare Corp., a managed-care company, jumped $2.125 to $27.625.
Pub Date: 9/20/96