Software database heavyweight Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report was leading the Nasdaq Composite Index higher on a wave of optimism , boosted by an upgrade, ahead of its first-quarter earnings report, due out after the market close.
The tech-laden Comp was lately rising 89, while
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
was up 3983, trying to follow suit.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
analyst Chuck Phillips took the bold move of upgrading Oracle to strong buy from outperform, just as the company is getting set to roll out its much-awaited fiscal first-quarter earnings report. While analyst expect Oracle to report earnings of 13 cents a share, the whisper number floats at 14 cents, according to
, a Web site that tracks investors' expectations. Oracle was up 3 to $84.81.
Meanwhile, blue-chips were unable to squeeze any juice out of the latest round of tame economic data which showed the pace of economic growth continues to run at more moderate levels. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average was dipping 36 to 11,145. Gains in the Dow's tech components were being offset by broad weakness in a number of financial and industrial stocks.
Producer Price Index
and initial jobless claims numbers and a slight recovery in the euro have been unable to inspire any confidence in the Old Economy guys.
S&P 500 and the small-cap
Russell 2000 were both sporting green. The SPX was up 7 to 1491, while the Russell was up 5 to 539.
Other favorites with tech investors today included
, which announced last night that it plans to spin off its Internet business. The company was lately up 34.7% to $50.06. Conexant and Oracle were two of the most actively traded stocks on the Nasdaq this morning.
Chase Manhattan Bank
was just barely recovering from a week long plummet this morning after some analysts made positive comments on the stock. Chase has fallen precipitously this week as merger rumors gathered in the sector and following confirmation of its plans to acquire U.S. brokerage powerhouse
yesterday. Chase was one of the most active stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Box-makers were rebounding this morning, and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
was up 1.5% after losing 0.9% yesterday. Box-makers were under pressure yesterday after
cut its fiscal first-quarter profit forecast, citing weakness in consumer electronics and dead PC-demand.
were all rebounding.
Semiconductors were soaring, with the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
Financials were still rising after a few days of frenzied activity. Banks were leaning to the upside with the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange KBW/Bank Index
up 0.5% while the
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
was bouncing up 1%.
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Today's economic reports were uniformly tame. August retail sales were more or less in line with expectations, while the August PPI rose less than expected.
Retail sales rose 0.2% compared to an average forecast of a 0.3% gain. Excluding autos, sales rose 0.3%, in line with expectations. However, July's results were revised upward, making the August results appear somewhat weaker than they actually are.
Meanwhile, the PPI fell 0.2% vs. an average forecast that it would rise by that amount. The core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.1%, a tenth less than expected. The August PPI does not capture the more recent rise in oil prices, which is expected to show up in the September report. Energy prices fell 0.2% in the August PPI, while food prices fell 0.7%, their largest drop in at least a year.
Also today, initial jobless claims rose to 324,000, their highest level since January 1999, from 311,000 the previous week, indicating continued slackening in the labor market and possibly a slowing rate of job growth.
The 10-year Treasury note was lately unchanged at 100 7/32, and yielding 5.72%.
Bond prices rallied nicely yesterday, thanks to another decline in oil prices and growing optimism about the monetary policy outlook.
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