Drug firms gain but others fall in trading Dow rises 32 points but Nasdaq loses 6 in mixed market


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday as Texaco Inc. and other companies that depend on economic growth to increase profits fell, while drugmakers such as American Home Products Corp. gained.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32.96 to 8,566.61.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 6.96 to 1,088.14 but the Nasdaq composite index declined 6.79 to 1,790.82.

Among other broad indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks slid 1.94 to 393.70; the Wilshire 5,000 index gained 38.66 to 10,035.48; the American Stock Exchange composite index fell 2.56 to 649.32; and the S&P; 400 midcap index slipped 0.85 to 326.33.

Declining stocks led advancers by an 8-to-7 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange.

About 558 million shares changed hands on the NYSE, the fewest in two weeks.

Monsanto Co. rose $4.0625 to $61.5625 after the company said its experimental pain-killing drug, one of a new class of drugs with multibillion-dollar sales potential, will get a faster-than-usual review by U.S. regulators.

American Home Products, which agreed in June to buy Monsanto for $39 billion, rose $2.875 to $56.125.

Other drugmakers also gained.

Investors prize drug companies for their ability to post steady earnings growth -- fueled by new products and an aging population in need of health care -- even in a slowing economy.

Merck & Co. climbed $2.375 to $131.375 and Schering-Plough Corp. rose $2.25 to $100.25.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, added $2.0625 to $67.25, leading the S&P; 500's gain.

BellSouth Corp. rose 1.875 to 68.3125, AllTel Corp. finished up $1.625 to $43.0625 and SBC Communications Corp. added 37.5 cents to $40.50.

Texaco lost $1.625 to $60.4375, Chevron Corp. dropped $1.50 to $78.6875 and Sun Co. lost $1.50 to $37.75.

Whirlpool Corp. fell $3.1875 to $52.9375. General Motors Corp. lost $1.50 to $63.625.

AlliedSignal Inc. dropped $2.4375 to $35 as it pressed on with a hostile bid for AMP Inc.

AMP, the world's biggest maker of electronic connectors, sued AlliedSignal in federal court in an effort to block the aerospace company's takeover bid. AMP rose 25 cents to $38.75.

Ciena Corp. rose $4.875 to $36.125 on optimism that Tellabs Inc. won't abandon its purchase of the company.

Centocor Inc. rose $1.6875 to $39.4375 after the biotechnology company won U.S. approval to sell its Remicade drug for Crohn's disease, a hard-to-treat condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract.

Albemarle Corp. rose $1.4375 to $18.875 after the maker of specialty chemicals for the plastics, pharmaceuticals and other industries said it will buy back up to 5 million shares for between $17 and $19.50 a share.

Albemarle, which warned a month ago weak Asian economies and the strong dollar could hurt second-half profits, was down 33 percent from its 1998 high of $26 before yesterday's rally.

Pub Date: 8/25/98

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