Dow, Nasdaq End Slightly Higher - TheStreet

Dow, Nasdaq End Slightly Higher

Investors await the start of the FOMC's two-day meeting.
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Updated from 4:17 p.m. EST

The major stock averages closed slightly higher Monday after seesawing throughout the session, as investors expressed caution ahead of this week's meeting of the

Fed's policymaking arm, the

Federal Open Market Committee.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 25.67 points, or 0.3%, to 9865.75. The

Nasdaq tacked on 6.22 points, or 0.3%, to 1943.92, and the

S&P 500 lost less than a quarter-point at 1133.06.

Earnings season was set to slow a little this week, but several influential companies remain on the calendar. Dow component

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 22 cents a share, a penny shy of analysts' expectations. Following the release, shares of the credit card titan shed 70 cents, or 1.9%, to close at $36.29.

Preliminary numbers showed automobile sales were stronger than expected in January, according to a story in

The Wall Street Journal

. Subsequently, Morgan Stanley upgraded the auto sector, citing firm demand, below-average inventory, capacity cuts and cheap valuations.

Ford

(F) - Get Report

climbed 57 cents, or 3.9%, to $15.06.

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

was rising after the company posted a fourth-quarter loss of a penny a share on revenue of $4.26 billion. Excluding restructuring charges and two currency adjustments, the copier company turned a profit of 15 cents a share, easily beating the consensus estimate. The company said it remains comfortable with its first-quarter outlook and is confident that it will report an operating profit for 2002. Shares of Xerox rose $1.34, or 13.5%, to $11.24.

Toys R Us

(TOY)

announced plans to close 37 of its Kids R Us clothing stores and 27 Toys R Us locations in an effort to cut costs and increase profitability. The retailer also said it will eliminate 1,900 jobs and take a pretax restructuring charge of $239 million. The stock advanced $1.15, or 6.1%, to $19.90.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

said comparable-store sales exceeded expectations in the third week of January. Shares of the retail giant added 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $58.63.

Global Crossing

(GX)

agreed to be acquired for $750 million by Singapore Technologies and Hutchinson Whampoa via a prepackaged Chapter 11 filing. The company's existing common and preferred shares will be canceled out.

Palm

(PALM)

officially launched its latest wireless handheld device, the i705, which will enable users to connect to the Internet and email systems without the use of an antenna. The company's shares rose 25 cents, or 6.4%, to $4.15.

Affymetrix

(AFFX)

, a genetic analysis company, faced heavy selling pressure following a negative research note advising investors to short the stock. Shares plummeted $5.87, or 16%, to $30.93.

Shares of

Hanover Compressor

(HC)

fell due to the company's exposure to

Enron

(ENRNQ)

, which Hanover says has been overstated. Hanover ended down $2, or 12.5%, to $14.05.

The Census Bureau said December new home sales were stronger than expected at 947,000, up from 934,000 in November. Economists were expecting the number of home sales to drop to 925,000.

Foreign markets were mostly higher, with London's FTSE 100 gaining 0.6% to 5224 and Germany's Xetra Dax up fractionally at 5159. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.8% to 10,221 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.1% to 10,767.

Treasury issues were slightly lower. Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year note was down 2/32 to 99 13/32, yielding 5.08%.