(Updated from 3:37 p.m.) So now the Dow knows how it feels.
Nasdaq Composite Index spent the day trailing the Dow and couldn't get out of the downside. Today, the Comp closed off session highs, but still firmly in positive territory. The Dow closed in the red by double digits.
The Dow and its components weren't so lucky today. Yesterday, the blue-chip index made healthy triple-digit gains, but today it had a rough up-and-down ride thanks to a flurry of news.
The biggest albatross on the index was Post-It note and Scotch tape maker
. The stock, which started a nice run-up in early December that became a steady decline by the year's end, closed down 3.1% to $110. The diversified manufacturer
missed its fourth-quarter earnings estimates, citing a slowing U.S. economy and a strong dollar for the results.
J.P. Morgan Chase
disappointing earnings; it closed down 0.4% to $53.
There were a couple somewhat shiny points of light on the index, including aircraft maker
, which saw its earnings
handily beat estimates, and
, which also topped expectations, but
tempered that with dropping profits.
was looking good ahead of its post-close announcement. Big Blue ended the day up 4.3% to $96.69.
Also, chipmaking giant
was on the downside after a
post-close earnings announcement that beat lowered estimates, but said little else to encourage investors. It closed down 2.8% to $30.50.
And ,though Intel was the stock everyone was waiting for, it was
impressed them all. The company beat fourth-quarter earnings and, on top of that, raised its forecast for the full year. Gold star for Juniper, which bounced up 6.4% to $133.19.
Applied Micro Circuits
were two others that reported better-than-expected earnings and were rewarded today.
The market was looking for positive earnings news to help revive it. Investors needed good news to get them back into tech, since right now, about the only catalyst that could help would be another intermeeting move by the
Federal Reserve. Otherwise, we're biding our time to see what happens when the
Federal Open Market Committee meets at the end of the month.
was leading trading on the
Big Board. The company is scheduled to report its earnings Thursday. It closed 8.8% higher to $34.75.
leaped 11.7% to $53.75 on rumors that the optical component supplier was in talks to sell a Zurich plant to Nortel. A wire service report says the deal is worth $3 billion.
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Banks and oil were grounded today, while tech-related stocks were flying high.
Bad news in the banking industry put pressure on financials. Yesterday, beleaguered
Bank of America
lowered estimates and said it expects higher loan losses in 2001. The banking sector got the added bonus of crummy earnings from J.P. Morgan Chase and
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
sector closed off by 0.95%.
Crude oil prices were on the slide today, pulling down related sectors. The
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
ended the day down 1.7%, while the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was 4% lower.
Chipmakers got love and affection from investors thanks to good earnings news from Intel, Novellus and
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
closed 6.3% higher.
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
was up 2.9% with help from the aforementioned component IBM, as well as
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Treasuries began to trade higher today as the markets digested a sizeable amount of commercial data released this morning, with the pricing on the long bond especially strong. Although the latest information was variously mixed, the overall message remains unchanged from that of recent weeks: The weakening economy will need active support from the Federal Reserve.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury notelately was up 12/32 to 104 7/32, yielding 5.183%.
In economic news, the
Consumer Price Index
), which measures the prices paid for goods and services, provided fresh evidence that a tepid inflation rate is not the problem.
The core CPI -- which measures the prices of goods and services excluding food and energy -- whose prices are volatile, rose 0.2% in December, in line with the expectations of economists polled by Reuters. The annual growth rate of the core CPI remained at 2.6%, its peak level of the year.
Consumer prices of all goods and services, including food and energy, rose 0.2% in December, while its annual rate of increase held steady at 3.4%.
Mortgage Applications Survey
) detected increases in refinancing and new mortgages, as mortgage interest rates remained low.
The refinancing index rose from 1572.1 to 2800.6, the highest it's been since October 1998. It has now almost doubled in value for two successive weeks. The purchase index rose to 332.9 from 292.8, continuing its upward trend of the last four weeks.
BTM-UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Index
chart) fell 0.3%, after rising for four consecutive weeks. Its change from the same period 12 months ago fell to 4.9% from 5.7%, but it remains relatively strong. The
Redbook Retail Average
chart) found this month's sales after two weeks running 2.6% ahead of December's. Sales in January rose by 3.6% compared to a year ago.
) fell 0.6% in December. That was slightly higher than economists' expectations of a 0.5% slide. It is the third consecutive decline and confirms yet again the cooling in the economy.
As production fell, the capacity utilization rate, which measures anti-inflationary slack in the industrial sector of the economy, fell to 80.6%, the lowest since September 1992.
) fell 0.4% in December after having remained unchanged during the previous month.
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