Blue chips stumble but Nasdaq edges up; Dow, S&P; 500, Amex caught by slump in last 20 minutes of trading


NEW YORK -- Blue-chip stocks gave back moderate gains in the final minutes of trading to end lower yesterday, but the Nasdaq composite inched higher to close at a record level for the third consecutive session.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 9,345.70, down 13.13, breaking two days of gains. The Dow got as high as 9,430.66, up nearly 72 points from Friday's close, and was up more than 50 points near the close, only to give way to profit-taking in the final 20 minutes.

And although the Nasdaq composite pushed to a record again, rising 4.20, to 2,510.09, the Standard & Poor's 500 composite fell 6.64, to 1,273.00. The American Stock Exchange composite index lost 2.23, to 712.63.

On the Big Board, decliners led advancers by 6 to 5. Volume was 799 million shares, down from Friday's pace.

Dell Computer Corp., the biggest direct seller of personal computers, gained $8, to $108, and was the most active stock in U.S. trading amid speculation that it will split its stock. Oracle Corp. gained $3.75, to $59.125, after the No. 1 database software maker said it will split its stock 3-for-2.

The Dow industrials were led higher by AT&T;, which rose $2.8125, to $93.5625, after announcing a deal to provide telephone service over Time Warner's existing cable TV systems. Time Warner shares ended down 18.75 cents, at $62.3125.

The Dow components also were supported by Hewlett-Packard Co. H-P shares rose $3.625, to $81.9375, after the company introduced a line of printers and issued an optimistic earnings forecast.

Some of the market's most highly valued companies, including General Electric Co., Intel Corp. and International Business Machines Corp., declined, helping to pull the market from its highs.

GE, the second most highly valued stock in the United States after Microsoft Corp., fell $2.6875, to $102.1875.

Intel, the world's biggest chip maker, lost $3.0625, to $137.875. IBM, the largest computer maker, dropped $3.50, to $179.75. Yahoo! Inc., the No. 1 Internet search directory, which trades at 453 times estimated 1999 earnings, slid $18.6875, to $335.5625.

Bell Atlantic declined 50 cents, to $59.50; SBC Communications Inc. slipped $1.4375, to $52.5625; and Ameritech Corp. dropped $2.1875, to $62.9375.

General Motors Corp. the world's largest automaker, rose $3.625 to match its record close of $93.375. GM has risen 31 percent year to date, making it the Dow average's biggest gainer.

Cisco Systems Inc., the No. 1 computer-networking company, rose $3.4375, to $115, on optimism about its earnings report, scheduled for release today.

Ameritrade Holding Corp. soared $24.75, to $105, and E Trade Group Inc. rose $7.1875, to $62.4375, as investors snapped up shares of online brokerages splitting their stock amid reports they're gaining business from full-service brokers.

Aetna Inc., the biggest U.S. health insurer, fell $3.875, to $86.25. President Clinton's budget plan would impose $1 billion in new taxes on deferred profit on Aetna, Citigroup Inc.'s Travelers insurance unit and other major stock life insurance companies. Citigroup fell $1.5625, to $54.50.

Pub Date: 2/02/99

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