Dow rises 22 points, Nasdaq loses 8; 2 indexes up sharply early in a session notable for zigzags


NEW YORK -- Enthusiasm for lower interest rates carried blue-chip stocks higher yesterday, but Nasdaq stocks took another beating amid concerns about computer-company earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended a volatile session 22.14 points higher, at 9,297.03. The Dow shot up 112 points in the first hour as interest rates in the bond market declined. It retreated to a 15-point loss, then turned positive again in midafternoon, and flitted between positive and negative for the rest of the session.

The broader market was weaker.

For the second session in a row, investors sold shares of Dell Computer Corp. over concerns that the personal computer maker's quarterly earnings report, released after the close of trading, would show a downturn in computer sales.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11.73, or 1 percent, to 1,241.86. The Nasdaq composite index fell 7.96, to 2,313.93, erasing a 46-point gain, after tumbling 83.66 points Friday

The Russell 2,000 index, a benchmark of small-cap stocks, slid 2.04, to 396.40; the Wilshire 5,000 index rose 65.70, to 11,308.52; the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 0.28, to 695.84; and the S&P; 400 midcap index added 0.44, to 360.44.

Maryland index gains

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index of the top 100 Maryland stocks gained 0.47, to 182.55.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by 1,550 to 1,539 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 473 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 653.76 million shares in the lightest trading day of the year, down from 824.06 million on Friday.

After the market closed, Dell reported earnings of 31 cents a share for its fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 29, matching estimates. Revenue rose 38 percent, the first time in two years sales growth hasn't topped 50 percent.

Dell shares fell $1.125 to $88.75 after initially rising $4.50, and slid to $78.75 in after-market trading.

The No. 1 direct seller of personal computers tumbled $12 Friday after analysts warned competition is hurting revenue growth.

Dell, the best-performing stock in the S&P; 500 for the past three years, "is still a great story, but their growth forecasts are becoming more reasonable," said Michelle Clayman, chief investment officer at New Amsterdam Partners LLC, which oversees $652 billion.

Hewlett-Packard Co., which fell $3.1875 to $73.25, could gain today. After the close, the No. 2 computer maker reported earnings of 92 cents a share, beating the average forecast by a dime.

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. provider of mortgage funding, rose $2.75 to $72.1875. Citigroup Inc. gained $1.5625 to $53.4375 and American Express Co. climbed $2.25 to $102.1875.

Wal-Mart buoys retailers

Retailers gained after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, beating the average forecast by 3 cents.

Wal-Mart climbed $3.1875 to $87.5625, and was the biggest gainer in the Dow average. Dayton Hudson Corp. jumped $3.1875 to $63.75 and Kmart Corp. added 75 cents to $17.25.

Merck & Co. gained $3.4375 to $153.9375 after it and Johnson & Johnson announced that their joint Consumer Pharmaceuticals enterprise introduced an improved liquid formula of the popular Mylanta antacid. Johnson & Johnson's shares gained $2 to $86.625.

Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum producer, fell $3.8125 to $80.875, trimming 16 points from the Dow, after aluminum prices dropped to a 5 1/2-year low.

Navistar International Corp. rose $7.125 to $42.375 on speculation that Sweden's Volvo AB, the world's second-largest maker of heavy trucks, may buy the No. 4 truck maker to more than double its North American sales.

ASA Holdings Inc. gained $1.8125 to $33.75 after Delta Air Lines Inc., the third-largest U.S. carrier, agreed to acquire the operator of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Inc., boosting its presence in the Southeast and Texas. Delta fell 6.25 cents to $52.50.

Deere & Co. gained 37.5 cents to $33 after the No. 1 U.S. farm equipment maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share, beating the average estimate of analysts by 5 cents.

Deere and its competitors are scaling back tractor and combine production in the wake of slumping crop prices, which leaves farmers with less money to spend on equipment.

Pub Date: 2/17/99

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