Stampeding Stocks Leave Bonds in the Dust

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Bonds? We don' need no stinkin' bonds!

Equity cowboys and cowgirls saddled up and left their fixed-income compadres in the trail dust, sending stocks thundering higher as bonds languished. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

recorded its third-straight triple-digit advance and returned to above 8000, rising 103.13 to 8021.23. That's 79.20 higher than it was at the close Thursday, before a Friday drop of 247.37 that seems increasingly insignificant.

The tech-powered

Nasdaq Composite Index

blasted up 27.96 to 1628.67, moving on chunky gains in

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and other big names. The broad

S&P 500

rose 13.34 to 939.35 and the small-cap

Russell 2000

added 5.27 to 419.06.

Market breadth was decidedly positive and volume picked up strongly on the Nasdaq, where 723.2 million shares changed hands as 2,640 advancers crushed 1,714 decliners. On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers beat decliners by 1,934 to 889 on 520.6 million shares.

Bonds were a totally different story, as the yield on the bellwether 30-year Treasury rose to 6.54%. That move, triggered by an unexpected decline in the U.S. trade deficit, had no effect on the galloping financial stocks:

Chase

(CMB)

rose 3 to 114 1/2,

BankAmerica

(BAC) - Get Report

gained 2 13/16 to 70 7/16 and

Citicorp

(CCI) - Get Report

added 1 15/16 to 136 15/16.

"I'll be damned if I can explain it," said Stanley Nabi, chief economist and chairman of the investment policy and strategy committee at the

Wood Struthers & Winthrop

unit of

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

. "Nothing has come out. Interest rates are up today, they were up slightly yesterday, so it was not interest-rate induced."

Despite a good advance-decline ratio and active volume, Nabi said he finds the current run-up "flimsy. My guess is that this recovery will not take the market all the way up to where it was before. The technicians will look at it and say this was a failed test, and that will take it down again if the bond market is not behind it."

Wednesday's market action

(earnings estimates from

First Call

):

Newbridge Networks

(NN)

improved 3 7/16 to 48 despite reporting late yesterday first-quarter earnings a penny short of expectations. (

TheStreet.com

looked at Newbridge's earnings report in a

story

yesterday.) Other networkers surged as well, with

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

up 2 5/8 to 78 3/8,

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Report

up 1 7/16 to 48 1/16 and

Fore Systems

(FORE)

up 3/16 to 20 1/32. Fore's rise came amid takeover rumors that one trader called no more substantive than past rumors, which so far haven't panned out.

The semiconductor industry basked in the glow of positive sentiment today, with

Lam Research

(LRCX) - Get Report

glowing brightest. It shot up 8 7/16, or 14.6%, to 66 5/16. Also leaping higher were

Kulicke & Soffa Industries

(KLIC) - Get Report

, up 4 3/8, or 9.6%, to an all-time high of 50 1/2;

KLA-Tencor

(KLAC) - Get Report

, up 6 1/8, or 8.8%, to an all-time high of 75 5/8;

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

, up 4 5/8 to an all-time high of 108; and

Novellus

(NVLS)

, up 3 7/16 to an all-time high of 119 1/2.

First Union

(FTU)

rose 7/8 to 47 13/16 on news of its planned $471 million acquisition of privately held brokerage

Wheat First Butcher Singer

. (

TheStreet.com

took a close look at the

Wheat First Union

deal in today's

Midday Musings

.)

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

leapt 6 1/4 to 112 1/2 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upgraded the stock to strong buy from outperform. That lent health to the rest of the drug sector, with

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

up 2 9/16 to 55 3/4,

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

up 2 5/8 to 79 15/16,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

up 1 to 95 3/4 and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

up 7/16 to 59 9/16.

Just For Feet

(FEET)

skidded 2 7/8, or 18.8%, to a two-year low of 12 1/2 after reporting second-quarter earnings of 16 cents per share, 4 cents short of the nine-analyst outlook but up from the year-ago 10 cents.

Alex. Brown

downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and

J.C. Bradford

cut it to buy from strong buy.

PairGain Technologies

(PAIR)

bounded 2 7/8, or 12.8%, to 25 3/8 after

Hambrecht & Quist

upgraded the stock to strong buy from buy.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

added 1/8 to 24 5/8 amid chatter -- reported

today

in

TheStreet.com

-- that it is planning to make a bid for troubled Apple clone maker

Power Computing

.

Platinum Technology

(PLAT) - Get Report

rose 2 3/8 to a 52-week high of 20 5/8 after

Robertson Stephens

upgraded the stock to buy from long-term attractive.

DSP Communications

(DSPC)

jumped 2 1/2, or 15%, to 19 1/8 after

UBS Securities

upgraded the stock to strong buy from buy. The firm set a six- to nine-month price target of 20 to 25.

Lycos

(LCOS)

ascended 4 1/4, or 19.2%, to a post-offering high of 26 9/16 after entering into a three-year pact with

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

. The deal will link the companies' Web sites and provide cross-promotion. Barnes & Noble edged down 1/16 to 47 1/8.

Elsewhere on the Net,

C/Net

(CNWK)

jumped 3 7/8, or 14.7%, to 30 1/4 on news that its new Internet service, Snap! Online, has signed more than 50 content providers ahead of its planned September launch.

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

improved 1 11/16 to an all-time high of 56 11/16 after saying its credit-card losses will peak sooner than its previous prediction of the first quarter of 1998. The bank didn't offer a new forecast.

Capital One Financial

(COF) - Get Report

dropped 2 5/8 to 36 3/8 after DLJ downgraded the stock to market perform from buy.

Fluor

(FLR) - Get Report

added 1 15/16 to 57 after reporting third-quarter earnings of 79 cents per share, 11 cents ahead of the eight-analyst estimate but down from the year-earlier 81 cents.

Midway Gaming

(MWY)

gained 1 1/16 to 19 7/8 after reporting fourth-quarter operating earnings of 29 cents per share, 3 cents better than the five-analyst forecast and up from the year-ago 1 cent.

Analog Devices

(ADI) - Get Report

sloughed off 1 5/16 to 34 15/16 after reporting third-quarter earnings of 27 cents per share, in line with the 15-analyst view and up from the year-ago 26 cents.

Despite an upgrade to buy from hold at

SBC Warburg

,

Telebras

(TBR)

lost 7/8, or 11%, to 7 1/4 after announcing it received a license from

Roche Molecular Systems

and

F. Hoffmann-La Roche

allowing Visible Genetics to develop, market and sell diagnostic kits and systems for a variety of disorders.

Dialogic

(DLGC)

slid 2 to 39 3/8 on a valuation-based downgrade to neutral from buy at

First Albany

.

Patrick Industries

(PATK) - Get Report

fell 1 3/4, or 10.6%, to 14 3/4 after saying it is no longer considering a proposal to acquire the company. Patrick never disclosed the identity of the now-spurned bidder.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

(RCL) - Get Report

gave up 15/16 to 38 7/8 after saying it planned a secondary offering of 8 million shares in the U.S. and Europe.