Stocks end mixed Dow rises 26 points; Advancers and decliners nearly even on Big Board; Intel tugs Nasdaq lower


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose yesterday as investors shook off concern about the unemployment report coming today and focused on prospects for earnings growth in 1997. Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. led the advance.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.16 to 6,773.06, amassing the entire gain in the last 15 minutes of trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.87 to 780.15, led by Merck & Co., up $2 to $91.875, and Johnson & Johnson, up $1.50 to $58.875. The Nasdaq composite index lost 2.04 to 1,346.40, hurt by a second day of losses in Intel Corp.

Intel kept a clamp on the market most of the day, falling $4.125 to $153.125 on concern it won't be able to duplicate its 1996 revenue growth. The world's biggest chip maker has lost 7.2 percent of its value since reaching an all-time high Tuesday.

Retail shares helped offset losses in computer stocks after reports that sales jumped in January. Sears, Roebuck & Co. rose $1.25 to $49.75; Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gained 50 cents to $23.625; and Limited Inc. gained 25 cents to $17.375.

The Russell 2,000 index fell 0.01 to 365.48; the Wilshire 5,000 index rose 13.52 to 7,511.88; the American Stock Exchange composite index slid 0.38 to 585.03; and the S&P; mid-cap index added 1.13 to 262.77.

Advancing and declining stocks were about evenly matched, with 1,242 falling and 1,250 rising on the New York Stock Exchange. About 519 million shares changed hands, above the daily average of 472 million for the past three months.

Some computer-industry shares strengthened yesterday. Cisco Systems Inc., which lost 16 percent of its value in the previous 10 sessions, rose 87.5 cents to $63.875. Applied Materials Inc., a maker of equipment used in semiconductor manufacturing, gained $3.50 to $47.625.

Investors are watching for warning signs that the economy is growing fast enough to set off inflation. The January jobs report, due today, is viewed as the monthly bulletin that provides the most insight into the state of economic growth and inflation. The report probably will show the economy added 231,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

U.S. Treasury bond yields offered no guidance for stocks yesterday. The benchmark 30-year bond's yield was unchanged 6.75 percent.

USA Detergents Inc. shares plunged $13.875 to $20.375 after the maker of cleaning products said fourth-quarter earnings will fall short of analysts' expectations. The company blamed the poor outlook on problems and costs from the rapid growth of its manufacturing, sales and distribution facilities.

Glenayre Technologies Inc. shares fell $4.25 to $15.375 after the company warned analysts that it won't meet 1997 earnings estimates.

Medaphis Corp. shares dropped $1.75 to $11.25 after the medical billing company reported a loss from operations far exceeding analysts' estimates. Medaphis, whose shares have risen on speculation it would be bought, said its loss from operations widened to 34 cents a share from loss of 2 cents in the year-earlier period. Wall Street expected a loss of 1 cent.

Mattel Inc. shares fell $1.625 to $25.75. While the toy maker met fourth-quarter earnings estimates, Chief Executive Officer Jill Barad said a plan to phase out or sell noncore assets could decrease revenue and earnings for at least the next quarter, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Manpower Inc. rose $5.375 to $35.375 after the provider of temporary personnel services, reported profit from operations of cents a share in the fourth quarter, 2 cents better than analysts expected.

News Corp. American depositary receipts fell 25 cents to $20.875 after Rupert Murdoch's global media company reported lower-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings of $352 million.

Pub Date: 2/07/97

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad