NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday amid concern that earnings growth may slow and that shares don't have much room to rise after this year's 31 percent rally. Ford Motor Co. led an advance in automobile shares.
Stocks plunged and recovered somewhat as bonds strengthened. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.22 to 970.62, led by telephone, utility and bank shares -- those most sensitive to interest rates.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 4.08 to a record 1,745.85, rebounding from a 10-point drop.
Ford jumped $1.25 to $49.50 after the No. 2 U.S. automaker said it would spin off its 80.7 percent stake in its consumer-finance unit, Associates First Capital Corp. General Motors Corp. rose $1 to $69.3125, helping the Dow average pare a 92-point loss.
General Electric Co., also a Dow member, climbed 12.5 cents to $70.625 after reporting a third-quarter profit of 62 cents a share, a penny better than expectations.
About 1,737 stocks fell and 1,190 rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 552 million shares changed hands.
GTE Corp. fell $2.4375 to $49.8125; Ameritech Corp. slipped $1.625 to $67.0625; Consolidated Natural Gas Co. dropped 81.25 cents to $58; Banc One Corp. dropped 50 cents to $58.375; and First Union Corp. lost 31.25 cents to $51.5625.
Rational Software Corp. tumbled $2.5625 to $9.9375 in trading of 36.4 million shares, more than 13 times the three-month daily average.
Axiom Inc. tumbled $6 to $9.125 after the provider of billing data-collection and telecommunications systems said it expects to report a profit of 8 cents to 13 cents a share for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, well below the 43 cents analysts expected.
RockShox Inc. dropped $3.125 to $11.125 after the maker of bicycle-suspension products said it expects earnings to fall to 24 cents to 26 cents a share for the second quarter ended Sept. 30. The company was expected to earn 31 cents a share.
Retailers were among the biggest decliners after reporting disappointing September sales.
Sears, Roebuck & Co., whose domestic sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.5 percent, fell 68.75 cents to $54.1875. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell 62.5 cents to $35.3125; Goody's Family Clothing Inc. slumped $3.375 to $23.75; and TJX Companies Inc. slipped 37.5 cents to $29.75.
Yesterday's most active stocks in U.S. trading were Rational Software, Saf-T-Lock Inc., Intel Corp., Unisys Corp. and Novell Inc.
Saf-T-Lok Inc. jumped $2.5625 to $3 in trading of 13.8 million shares as investors bet that a joint declaration by President Clinton and eight leading gun manufacturers to install child-proof safety locks on guns would prove to be a windfall for the maker of quick-locking devices used for firearms.
Catellus Development Corp. fell 68.75 cents to $20.8125 after California's largest private land owner said the California Public Employees' Retirement System wants to sell as much as half of its 41 percent stake in the company.
Seitel Inc. jumped $2.5625 to $49.3125 as the provider of seismic data and other geophysical services declared a 2-for-1 stock split, payable Dec. 12 to shareholders of record on Dec. 3.
Checkfree Corp. jumped $3.25 to $27.50. Chase Manhattan Corp. and the provider of electronic payment services said customers will be able to receive and pay bills via the Internet, as part of a plan to expand the bank's online services.
CoreStates Financial Corp. climbed 37.5 cents to $72.375. The bank holding company rejected an acquisition offer from Mellon Bank Corp. that valued the company at about $16 billion, or $80 to $85 a share, people familiar with the situation said.
Pub Date: 10/10/97