SAN FRANCISCO --
There's a long, long night of waiting, until my dreams all come true. 'Til the day when I'll be going down that long, long trail with you.
Be it extended trading hours or tomorrow's May
, Wall Street tried to put a pleasant spin on the waiting game today. Big box retailers were inspired by solid same-store sales figures and a robust report from
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
, while oil service stocks were enlivened by a host of favorable brokerage comments. However, tech proxies ended on a sour note as Internet leaders continue to struggle and traditional tech bellwethers slouched.
Meanwhile, with bond traders expecting the worst (as is their wont) from the jobs data tomorrow, the price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 6/32 to 90 12/32, its yield rising to 5.94%.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was the best performer among major averages throughout the session, rising as high as 10,667.18 and closing up 85.80, or 0.8%, to 10,663.69.
was among the best Dow performers and led a improving retail sector, rising 2.5% after posting a 7.7% rise in May same-store sales. The
S&P Retail Index
was the index's top gainer, rising 2.7%.
also aided the Dow but fellow cyclical component
proved a great restraint.
Smartly dressed retailers and energy stocks -- particularly oil service -- helped lift the
as high as 1304.12 before the index closed up 4.73, or 0.4%, to 1299.54. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
rose 3.7% after analysts at several firms -- including
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
-- made constructive comments on the group. (PS: How come negative comments aren't ever "destructive"?)
The S&P was restrained by tech bellwethers which,
, kept tech proxies on the defensive. The
Nasdaq Composite Index
slid 29.09, or 1.2%, to 2403.32 while
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index lost 22.31, or 4%, to 534.30.
rose 5% after announcing some cost-cutting efforts;
rose 3.5% after a favorable meeting with analysts; and
gained 2% following an upgrade from
BT Alex. Brown
. But the majority of other tech bellwethers remained funk-bound. The
dipped 2.1% while the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
Among Net leaders,
shed 6.3% despite an upgrade from
Volpe Brown Whelan
fell 0.76, or 0.2%, to 435.98 while the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
slid 6.64, or 0.2%, to 3420.96 despite a 15.7% rise for
. The company announced a delivery partnership with the
Evincing the lack of significance of today's trade, most traders asked about the action were already looking ahead to tomorrow.
"It does seem to be what everybody is focusing on," Ken Ducey, director of trading at
, said of the economic data. "You had a housing starts number that was inflationary but not as bad as it looked. Now people get a look at tomorrow's numbers. Two in a row and people will say that's going to make the
Regarding today's trade, "tech stocks are taking a bath and it looks like they'll continue to," Ducey said. "As traders start to unwind at the end of the day nobody wants to be long in case tomorrow's numbers are a disaster, especially stocks with high volatility. I don't see anyone rushing in to buy stock."
In contrast to some who foresee a rally tomorrow if the jobs figures are tame, the trader said: "I think the market is in a process where it's rolling over a little and I don't think its through. Obviously we'll get some reaction if numbers are positive, but whether they can hold that going into the weekend is another story. Everyone's got a cautious hat on."
New York Stock Exchange
trading, 733.3 million shares were traded while advancers led declining issues 1,595 to 1,309. In
Nasdaq Stock Market
activity, 822.6 million shares were exchanged while losers led 1,913 to 1,895. New 52-week highs led news lows 47 to 43 in NYSE trading and by 68 to 44 in over-the-counter trading.
Look Ma: There's a Rally A-Comin'
Just about everyone on Wall Street is holding their breath, gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair out while simultaneously twiddling their thumbs (try it, it ain't easy) ahead of the employment report tomorrow. But Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at
, said the short-term picture is nothing to worry about (for those long).
"The market is setting up for a rally unless the employment report is horrendous," Dwyer said. "A negative report is already priced in. A benign or even in-line number could spark a rally. The basic message is: We're going to get an oversold bounce, but I would use it to raise cash rather than try to trade it."
The strategist, who predicted a reversal was coming when last interviewed by
May 10, said any bounce will likely be short-lived in nature, due mainly to the Dow's being extended above its 200-day moving average and to fears of a
Expect the Dow to fall "maybe another 10%" from current levels "whether it rallies or not," Dwyer said.
However, "I don't think they're going to move" at the end of the month, he said, expressing a minority viewpoint. "I don't think they'll move because it will affect international currencies too much and
because of concerns they've expressed about Y2K issues. Why tighten and then add liquidity?"
The strategist acknowledged no tightening at the June meeting "could be construed as a negative" by a market suddenly paranoid about inflation's re-emergence. Still, "what they do isn't as important as the anticipation of what they do," he said. "The market is oversold deeply on a short-term basis and with pessimism about interest rates and inflation running high, it creates an environment for an oversold rally."
Among other indices, the
Dow Utility Average
rose 2.07, or 0.6%, to 326.47; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
gained 4.71, or 0.6%, to 775.94.
Elsewhere in North American equities, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
rose 36.30 to 6887.05 and the
Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index
fell 36.58 to 5363.62.
Thursday's Company Report
Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
Oil service stocks continued this week's spurt higher with today's momentum coming from Goldman Sachs analyst Terry Darling, who started the sector as overweight. The analyst, citing improving commodity prices and lower operating costs, expects to see a 10% increase in upstream spending in 2000 for industry companies.
, which rose 7/16 to 60 7/16,
, which gained 1 3/8 to 42 7/8, and
, which climbed 1 11/16, or 6.3%, to 28 9/16, were added to the firm's recommended list.
Additionally, Goldman began coverage of the following names with market outperformer ratings:
, which moved up 13/16 to 32 3/4;
, up 7/8 to 29 1/2;
, up 1 13/16, 5%, to 38 3/16;
, up 1 3/4, or 8.2%, to 23;
, up 1/4 to 12 1/8; and
, up 1 1/2, or 8.7%, to 18 11/16. Finally,
climbed 1 1/2 to 43 15/16 after Goldman initiated coverage with a market performer and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter upgraded it to outperform from neutral.
Many retailers glided higher following strong May same-store sales reports.
- Ames Department Storesundefined closed flat at 42 5/16 on sales up 6.4%.
AnnTaylor Stores (ANN) rose 3/8 to 42 5/8 on sales up 10.1%.
Dayton Hudson (DH) fell 1 to 61 despite sales up 6.3%.
Dillard's (DDS) rose 13/16 to 36 on sales up 2%.
Dollar General (DG) rose 3 1/16, or 11.4%, to 30 on sales up 9.2%.
Federated Department Storesundefined fell 5/16 to 53 despite sales up 4.1%.
Gap (GPS) rose 3 1/4, or 5.2%, to 65 7/8 on sales up 8%.
J.C. Penney (JCP) fell 1/8 to 49 7/8 despite sales up 2.2%.
Kmartundefined fell 3/16 to 15 1/4 despite sales up 3.7%.
May Department Stores (MAY) fell 3/8 to 42 despite sales up 2.9%.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) fell 3/8 to 11 7/8 despite sales up 5.9%.
Saks (SKS) fell 7/16 to 27 9/16 despite sales up 3%.
Sears (S) fell 1/8 to 50 3/4 despite sales up 1.9%.
ShopKoundefined fell 1/8 to 34 15/16 despite sales up 9.4%.
Spiegelundefined rose 1/16 to 7 1/4 after saying its
Eddie Bauer sales climbed 4%.
Wal-Mart rose 1 1/8 to 45 1/2 on sales up 7.7%.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
sank 4 1/2, or 5.2%, to 82 after
said it intends to exercise a call option to acquire all the shares of the company it doesn't already own for $4.2 billion. After redeeming the shares, Roche said it intends to sell up to 19% of Genentech to the public, maintaining the biotech's status as a publicly traded, independent legal entity.
United Wisconsin Services
shot up 1 5/8, or 22.6%, to 8 13/16 after authorizing the creation of a special committee to explore a possible merger or other business combination with
Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
closed unchanged at 5 3/16 after recording second-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, in line with the four-analyst estimate but below the year-ago 30 cents.
advanced 7 7/16, or 15.5%, to 55 5/16 after saying it sees first-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, above the current 18-analyst estimate of 13 cents. The company, which made 8 cents in the year-ago period, is scheduled to release quarter earnings June 15.
surged 11/16, or 6.4%, to 11 1/2 after late yesterday announcing a third-quarter loss of 3 cents a share, on target with the three-analyst view and narrower than the year-ago loss of 14 cents.
revved up 1 5/8, or 5.8%, to 29 3/4 after last night posting first-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, beating the six-analyst estimate of 30 cents and moving ahead of the year-ago 12 cents.
lowered 13/16 to 30 1/8 after reporting first-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share, topping both the four-analyst forecast for 46 cents and the year-ago 45 cents.
tacked on 2 1/8 to an all-time high of 69 1/16 after reporting third-quarter earnings of $1.10 a share, matching the eight-analyst estimate and moving ahead of the year-ago 98 cents. Meanwhile,
accepted Litton's $529 million takeover offer after
Newport News Shipbuilding
dropped out of the chase for Avondale. Avondale slipped 3/16 to 38 3/16; Newport News slipped 5/8 to 28 1/4.
U.S. Xpress Enterprises
skidded 2 1/2, or 20.8%, to 9 19/32 after last night saying it will record a second-quarter charge of $1.3 million related to a settlement of a dispute with
. Today, BT Alex. Brown cut its recommendation to market perform from strong buy.
Volt Information Sciences
excelled 2 3/16, or 12.4%, to 19 7/8 after posting second-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, a dime above the year-ago 28 cents. First Call didn't have an estimate for the company.
slugged down 4, or 14.4%, to 23 13/16 after
Dain Rauscher Wessels
initiated coverage with an aggressive buy, but listed a 2000 earnings estimate for the company lower than the Street's consensus. There also are concerns floating around about sales of the company's key product,
, slipping in April.
advanced 1 1/16, or 5.9%, to 19 1/8 after
Salomon Smith Barney
started coverage of the stock with a buy and a price target of 30.
added 1/8 to 67 3/16 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter increased its 2000 earnings forecast for the company to $4.25 from $4.20 a share.
Hewlett-Packard grew 1 11/16 to 91 7/16 after BT Alex. Brown upped the stock to buy from market perform following yesterday's analysts meeting with the company. Among its comments, H-P said it expected its sharper focus on Internet businesses to boost revenue over time. H-P also cautioned that it faced steep costs in completing its split into two companies.
vaulted 4 7/8, or 10.7%, to 50 5/16 after
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
upped it to strong buy from buy.
flew 2 1/16, or 6%, to 36 9/16 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter lifted it to strong buy from neutral.
A potential peace settlement in Kosovo was good news for
, which sailed up 4 3/8, or 10.7%, to 45 1/4, and
, which sailed up 3 5/16, or 8.6%, to 41 15/16. Both companies have suffered a decline in bookings for European cruises.
slid 3 3/8, or 6.4%, to 49 5/8 even after receiving tentative approval from the
Food and Drug Administration
to make and sell a generic equivalent of
soared 1 3/8, or 36.1%, to 5 1/4 after saying its founder and former chairman and CEO, Ronald Unkefer, will rejoin the company July 1 as chairman and chief executive. He will replace Robert Gunst, who is resigning.
lowered 1 to 40 1/2 after its
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems
unit announced plans to shed up to 2,000 jobs over the next year. About 40% of the reductions will come from retirements, attrition or transfers.
slouched 4 1/4, or 8.3%, to 47 after saying John Correnti resigned as director, vice chairman, president and CEO. Chairman David Aycock will take over as president and chief executive.
jumped 1 to 21 7/8 on last night's news that it will replace
in the S&P 500 on a date to be announced. American Stores is being acquired by
Tricon Global Restaurants
dropped 4 1/4, or 7.5%, to 52 3/4 on last night's news that the company's CFO resigned.
rallied 2 5/8 to an all-time high of 57 after announcing plans to offer 18 months of free Web hosting and free long-distance telephone service for one year to new customers.