Quest for Certainty Goes On as CPI Yields Only Muddled Indices - TheStreet

All it took was another feel-good economic number to keep the party going on Wall Street today, as investors cracked open their wallets and (selectively) bought up shares on increased hopes that Greenspan won't spoil the dance. Today's trading session theme changed, however, putting financials and industrials back in fashion while leaving tech stocks tagged as yesterday's news.

A benign May

Consumer Price Index

report lent more weight to the notion that Greenspan might not have factored a rate increase into this month's

Federal Open Market Committee meeting agenda, as cash went to work in stocks that ended yesterday's out of favor. The latest trading activity may be broadening the stock market, but it's keeping insiders at bay as they plot and plan their next investment strategy.

"It's been interesting because the bias over the past two days has been up in a very mixed market," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at

Prime Charter

. "The market has so many people focused on finding a trend that's going to stick. The only tech trends that seem to be working are semis and optical networking, and outside of tech, drugs and oils have really been the focus."

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 66.11, or 0.6%, to 10,687.95, powered by cyclical components.

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

lifted 6.2%, while

Honeywell

(HON) - Get Report

jumped 2.2%, as investors went back into the big industrial names. Recently, these stocks have suffered, as investors dropped the stocks that have their earnings and revenue tied to the slowing economy.

Financials were burning up the

Big Board after

Bear Stearns

(BSC)

posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. The stock finished up 1 3/8, or 3.3%, to 42 1/4.

"The brokers act much better ahead of earnings," said Patrick Boyle, director of trading at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. "Before earnings, they take them up. It's --" hey, you may have heard this before "-- buy on the rumor, sell on the news."

During the spring tech decline, investors flocked to the oils as a haven from losses. Last quarter's strong earnings, coupled with oil's high price gave the sector a pop but the recent tech resurgence took a little air out of its balloon. Today, however, investors returned, and kept the

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

bouncing during intraday trading. Despite the pop, the stock finished down a fraction. Dow component

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

closed up 1.7%, while ex-Dow component

Chevron

(CHV)

tacked on 1.6%.

The drug sector, also tagged as a safety investment by the investing-savvy, was buzzing again, with the

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

polishing off the session up 1.5%.

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

ended the day 2.5% higher.

Frustrating Lack of Commitment

Today's gains on the Dow are marked by tepid participation, and that has some investors frustrated by the lack of commitment. But other say that the lofty, first-quarter volume levels are a tough act to follow.

"We had a robust end to last year and speculative money pouring into the market," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at

Jefferies

. "Two of the largest hedge funds

Tiger Management

and George Soros'

Quantum Fund

have disappeared, and the corrective action of the market that tech and telecom stock went through wiped out a great deal of daytraders."

But the

Nasdaq Composite Index couldn't sustain yesterday's climb, ending the day off 53.65, or 1.3%, to 3797.41, with semiconductors serving as the biggest downers.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

slipped 4.3%, with a 7.5% loss from

Rambus

(RMBS) - Get Report

and a 6.5% loss from

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index fell 14.95, or 1.6%, to 898.68, with

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

skidding 2 9/16, or 5.2%, to 46 7/16.

But an investment from

AOL

(AOL)

left

Tivo

(TIVO) - Get Report

on the upside. The deal calls for AOL to take a $200 million interest in the company and would allow TiVo to offer AOLTV subscribers the option of making their own TV schedules. TiVo surged 12, or 56.7%, to 33, while AOL moved up 1, or 1.9%, to 52 5/8.

Also,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

moved on up 2 5/8, or 3.8%, to 70 1/2, after a federal appeals court agreed to hear the software giant's appeal against splitting up the company.

The broad

S&P 500 lifted 1.10 to 1470.54, while the small-cap

Russell 2000 slipped 4.08, or 0.7%, to 509.67.

Market Internals

Breadth was mixed, on normal, moderate volume.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,676 advancers, 1,257 decliners, 932.4 million shares. 102 new 52-week highs, 34 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

1,797 advancers, 2,233 decliners, 1.379 billion shares. 64 new highs, 67 new lows.

For a look at stocks in the news, see the Company Report, published separately.