Updated from 4:14 p.m. EST
Stocks swerved to minor losses Friday, pushed lower in the final hour as traders locked in last-minute profits. Still, it was a second straight winning year in the stock market, with all three major averages finishing in the green.
On the last day of 2004, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 17.29 points, or 0.16%, to 10,783.01. The
dropped 1.63 points, or 0.13%, to 1211.92. The
lost 2.90 points, or 0.13%, to 2175.44. The 10-year Treasury note gained 9/32 to yield 4.22%.
Volume was thin ahead of New Year's, with 787 million shares trading on the
and 1.4 billion changing hands on the Nasdaq. Advancers led decliners by roughly 6 to 5 on both venues.
For all of 2004, the Dow gained 3.1%, the Nasdaq added 8.6% and the S&P 500 rose 9.0%, each saved by a strong fourth quarter. Over the last two years, the Dow is up 29.3%, the Nasdaq is up 62.8% and the S&P 500 is up 37.6%. Over the last five years, however, the Dow is down 8.7%, the Nasdaq is down 47% and the S&P 500 is down 17.5%.
For the fourth quarter, the gains were 7 on the Dow, 14.7% on the Nasdaq and 8.7% on the S&P.
Oil futures closed for the year Thursday ahead of the holiday at $43.45.
"Despite the fact that the rally has struggled for the last week to move higher, there's very little sign of weakness in the market," said Ken Tower, chief market strategist with CyberTrader. "The uptrend should accelerate once we get into the new year next Monday. It's time for investors to make their New Year's resolution."
The Dow's gain for 2004 trailed the other indices due to weakness in components like
Among those, Pfizer dipped further Friday even after its Lyrica drug was approved by the FDA for the treatment of pain associated with conditions like diabetes and shingles. The treatment remains under review for epilepsy. Pfizer fell 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $26.89.
said it will pay $325 million to settle federal charges that it overbilled Medicare. The company, which collapsed two years ago in one of the major post-
corporate blowups, will make a $75 million initial payment and return the rest through quarterly installments over three years. The company's former CEO, Richard Scrushy, faces trial on fraud charges starting next month. HealthSouth lost 2 cents, or 0.3%, to $6.28.
Flight attendants at bankrupt carrier United Airlines authorized a strike Thursday in the event a bankruptcy court terminates their contract. The
unit had previously asked the court to cancel contracts with unions that don't come to terms on contracts. UAL dropped 7 cents, or 5.4%, to $1.30.
British Medical Journal
reported Friday that the FDA is reviewing
documents that might link its blockbuster antidepressant Prozac to violent behavior. The documents date to a 1989 lawsuit against the company concerning a patient who went on an office shooting spree allegedly while taking the drug. A Lilly spokesman said the company couldn't comment on the report without seeing the documents. Eli Lilly lost 75 cents, or 1.3%, to $56.75.
continued to rise after the marine construction company announced late Wednesday that it landed a pipeline construction contract in Africa. The company also announced it is trying to refinance its debt.
reaffirmed its previous earnings forecast of 48 cents to 51 cents a share for the fourth quarter and $1.57 to $1.60 a share for 2004. The company also said it has sold GE Capital International Services, or Gecis, for $500 million in cash and 40% ownership in the spinoff. GE dipped 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $36.50.
ThinkEquity Partners initiated shares of
with a buy rating and a target price of $9. The firm believes Sonus will announce several significant deals in 2005, in both domestic and overseas markets. Shares gained 20 cents, or 3.6%, to $5.73.
Among overseas markets that were open Friday, London's FTSE 100 lost 0.1% to 4814, while France's CAC 40 fell 0.3% to 3816. Both benchmarks were poised to end 2004 with gains just above 7%.
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