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Stocks End Choppy Day With Gains

Benign retail data and mixed earnings news contribute to a volatile session.

Updated from 3:46 p.m. EST

Stocks rallied in the final minutes of trading Tuesday, allowing the major averages to end a volatile session with gains.


Nasdaq closed above the psychologically important 2000 level, adding 10.17 points, or 0.5%, to 2000.91. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 32.73 points, or 0.3%, to 9924.15, and the

S&P 500 was up 7.78, or 0.7%, at 1146.19.

Early support for the averages came from the December retail sales report, which showed a 0.1% decline. Economists had been predicting a drop of about 1.2%. The relative strength of the report was due almost entirely to automobile sales.



warned that fourth-quarter revenue would come in lower than expected at about $4 billion, while its

Sprint PCS Group


said subscriber growth totaled 1.11 million in the quarter, also below expectations. Sprint fell 27 cents to $19, while Sprint PCS was off 64 cents to $17.32.


(GLW) - Get Corning Inc Report

lowered its outlook for the fourth quarter and said it will incur a charge of $109 million. The maker of optical equipment now expects to lose 28 cents to 29 cents a share on revenue of $975 million. The company said the charge will cover the costs of employee stock options, obsolete inventory and restructuring actions. Corning maintained that revenue was in line with its expectations. The company's shares inched up by a penny to $9.82.

TheStreet Recommends

Airline stocks turned in a strong performance Tuesday after several Wall Street brokerages made bullish comments on the industry. Goldman Sachs upgraded

America West Holdings


to market outperform from market perform based on its increased liquidity as a result of government loans in the wake of Sept. 11. America West gained 24.1% at $3.91.

UBS Warburg believes the airline industry will improve in the next 18 months and that investors should keep an eye on





(UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report

. AMR shares traded up 5.1% to $25.79, and UAL added 5.6% to $14.99.

Shares of


(MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International (MGM) Report

shot up Tuesday on reports its controlling shareholder, Las Vegas financier Kirk Kerkorian, wants to sell the studio. MGM put out a release saying it was evaluating business combinations, but no deal had been reached. The shares finished up $2.39, or 12%, to $22.27.



warned that second-quarter earnings will fall short of analysts' expectations due to continued weakness in its electronics business. The news eclipsed the company's results for the first quarter, in which it earned $1.45 billion, or 73 cents a share, an increase of 25% from a year ago. The stock dropped $4.35, or 8.3%, to $48.05.

Discount broker

Charles Schwab


posted fourth-quarter earnings of $109 million, or 8 cents a share, down from $162 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago. The company cited weaker financial markets and reduced volume. Schwab's shares shed a penny to $16.01.



said in a

Securities and Exchange Commission

filing that its proposed merger with PC maker



could add $5 to $9 to its share price. H-P shares gained 56 cents to $23.08.

Check Point Software

(CHKP) - Get Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Report

saw its shares falter. The company beat analysts' estimates for the latest quarter by a penny, but said on a conference call that it will resume growth in the fourth quarter, not the third quarter as originally expected. The stock dropped 12.9% to $38.68.


(ET) - Get Energy Transfer, L.P. Report

beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates Monday and

raised its outlook for 2002 as the online broker cut advertising costs and increased mortgage loan growth. The company earned 7 cents a share in the fourth quarter, topping analysts' estimate of 4 cents and last year's bottom line of 2 cents a share. Revenue also exceeded expectations, coming in at $345 million, compared with expectations for $329.8 million. Shares of E*Trade lost 4.1% to $11.70.

Stocks were mixed overseas, with the FTSE 100 up 1% to 5166 and the Xetra DAX down 0.1% to 5062. Asian stocks succumbed to profit worries, as the Nikkei closed down 2.3% to 10,208, while the Hang Seng fell 1.8% to 11,014.

Treasuries were mixed in late afternoon trading. Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year note was ahead by 6/32 at 101 5/32, yielding 4.85%.