Monday: Stock Prices Dodge 'Correction' with Late Rally

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By John J. Edwards III
Staff Reporter

Sorry folks, not today.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

flirted with its much-chattered-about 10% correction but went home with someone else -- a surprising gain. After dipping below the 6376.64 level earlier in the day, the blue-chip measure rallied sharply in the afternoon to finish with a gain of 60.21 at 6451.90.

The broader

S&P 500

and the tech-stuffed

Nasdaq Composite Index

followed pretty much the same path, and -- say, whaddaya know? -- so did

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

. The major indices and the chip-making bellwether had virtually identical charts after about 2:20 p.m. EDT, apparently in response to a burst of enthusiasm about Intel's approaching post-close earnings report.

"They were hand in hand," one trader said. "That must have been it. Once Intel started sparking up, that boosted the futures and the tail wagged the dog." Intel finished the trading session up 3 1/4 to 133 3/4. The company reported first-quarter net income of $2.20 a share, more than double last year's earnings per share and better than the

First Call

consensus forecast of $2.07 a share.

With Intel providing the boost, stock prices once again failed to reach the "official" 10% correction level. In the first half of 1994, the Dow dropped nearly 10%, but failed to puncture that level. The last drop of 10% or more occurred in 1990, when the market bottomed with a decline of just over 20% in the midst of Operation Desert Shield.

Still, the late-session gains were by no means broad-based. Decliners led advancers on the

New York Stock Exchange

1,425 to 1,037, on volume of 409.5 million. And the bond market was trendless, with the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond unchanged to yield 7.17%.

Several blue-chip stocks contributed to the Dow's rise on the strength of solid earnings reports:

Travelers

(TRV) - Get Report

gained 2 to 48 3/8,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

bubbled up 1 7/8 to 55 5/8 and

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

added 5/8 to 53 5/8.

Novellus

(NVLS)

didn't get a chance to bask in the glow of its upside earnings surprise. The semiconductor equipment maker cratered 21 1/4 to 53 after saying it could sustain material damage from a patent infringement judgment against it.

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

, which was the beneficiary of the patent decision, lost 3/4 to 49 1/2.

Investors turned up their noses at the proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of

United Waste

(UWST)

by

USA Waste

(UW)

. Despite USA Waste's projection of $29 million in savings in the combined company's first year, the prospective buyer fell 3 3/8 to 31 7/8. United Waste didn't get the usual positive response to being the target of a purchase, losing 4 1/8 to 33 3/8.

Leasing Solutions

(LSSI)

became another prominent victim of a merciless "forced stock split," getting more than halved in value on news that its near-term growth will be hurt by

Dell's

(DELL) - Get Report

formation of an affiliate leasing company with Toronto-listed

Newcourt Credit Group

. Leasing Solutions plummeted 9 7/8 to 7 7/8.

Similarly decimated was

Meridian Diagnostics

(KITS)

, which plunged 4 to 5 3/4 after saying it expects second-quarter earnings of about 8 cents per share. The First Call consensus estimate is 12 cents.

"Hey! We've struck ¿ water?" Such are the woes of

FX Energy

(FXEN)

, which said it had to plug its Orneta 1 well in Poland after finding H2O instead of more valuable commodities like natural gas or oil. The shares skidded 3 1/2 to 6 1/8.

Pipe company

Shaw Group

(SGR)

was crushed 8 5/8 to 13. The company announced second-quarter earnings of 31 cents per share, missing the First Call view of 32 cents, and said it will post lower-than-expected results in the third and fourth quarters as well.

Bank of New York

(BK) - Get Report

gained 5/8 to 34 1/2 on a positive earnings report, with its first-quarter figure of 65 cents per share beating the First Call consensus estimate by 2 cents. Another bank surpassing expectations was

Bank of Commerce

(BCOM) - Get Report

, which beat First Call by 4 cents with first-quarter earnings of 48 cents. Its shares rose 2 1/2 to 31 1/4.

Graco

(GGG) - Get Report

missed first-quarter estimates by a wide margin, reporting earnings of 35 cents per share. First Call was looking for 42 cents. The maker of pump and spray systems lost 4 to 26.

Rexall Sundown

(RXSD)

rallied 1 1/4 to 21 after its CEO released a statement attributing the company's recent price weakness to an unusually large short position. Rexall's shares closed at 26 3/8 as recently as April 1.

Canada's

Ballard Power Systems

(BLDPF)

jumped 2 1/4 to 28 3/16 on news of its deal to jointly develop new fuel cells with Germany's

Daimler-Benz

(

(DAI)

DAI ADR). Daimler-Benz's ADRs rose 7/8 to 79 1/8.