Stocks Keep Winning Streak Alive - TheStreet

Updated from 3:40 p.m. EST

The major averages closed higher for the third straight session Friday as investors remained optimistic that an economic turnaround is in the works following a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 87.60 points, or 0.9%, to 10,259.74. The

Nasdaq was ahead by 15.11 points, or 0.7%, to 2059.38, and the

S&P 500 gained 7.24 points, or 0.6%, at 1172.51.

Dow component

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

said late in the session that it would record a pretax charge of around $1 billion, mainly to cover the cost of

eliminating several thousand jobs. By the end of 2002, about 10,000 employees will be taken off the company's payroll. AT&T ended down 31 cents, or 1.7%, at $18.33.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose to 5.8% in December, as anticipated, up from 5.6% in the previous month. The data also revealed that nonfarm payrolls fell by 124,000 in December. Economists were expecting the report to show the economy shed about 139,000 jobs, about half the rate of reduction seen in November.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management, formerly the National Association of Purchasing Management, said its nonmanufacturing index rose to 54.2 in December from 51.3 in November, topping the consensus estimate of around 50.

Salomon Smith Barney analysts were talking up

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, saying that preliminary measures show the company finished strong in the fourth quarter. Salomon kept its buy rating on the stock and raised its fourth-quarter and 2002 estimates for Intel. The firm also set a new price target of $45, up from $40. Shares of the chip heavyweight climbed 27 cents, or 0.7%, to $35.79.

Merrill Lynch wasn't as optimistic on the broader chip sector. The firm said aggregate fourth-quarter revenue of 27 semiconductor companies it covers should be down 34% from the same period a year ago and flat sequentially. Merrill analysts believe that Intel's performance has skewed those forecasts upward. In addition, the firm said it isn't convinced technology will outperform this year, citing the high valuations investors have given some companies.

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

was the most active stock on the

New York Stock Exchange, falling 55 cents, or 5%, to $10.36. The company issued a press release denying rumors that it has sought bankruptcy protection or was considering a filing. Halliburton also denied speculation that a new asbestos verdict was leveled against the company. The company, which is primarily involved in oilfield services, has been battered recently by worries about its exposure to asbestos litigation.

Enron

(ENE)

agreed to give up control of a 16,500-mile gas pipeline connecting Texas with the Great Lakes region to

Dynegy

(DYN)

. Dynegy will pay $23 million to exercise an option it received on the property in connection with financing it provided Enron in November. Enron, which declared bankruptcy after Dynegy's bid to acquire the company fell through, still plans to pursue a $10 billion lawsuit against its former rival. Dynegy gained $1.37, or 5.4%, to $26.65.

Willamette

(WLL) - Get Report

said it will continue negotiations to buy the building materials assets of

Georgia-Pacific

(GP)

and added that it will reject

Weyerhaeuser's

(WY) - Get Report

$55-a-share hostile takeover bid. Williamette dropped 8.6% to $45.65.

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

said its profit before interest and taxes fell 77% in 2001 on a 7.4% revenue decline. The world's No. 5 automaker cited losses at its Chrysler unit in the U.S.

Abgenix

(ABGX)

saw its shares fall after the company said it won't pursue its ABX-IL8 drug as a treatment for arthritis. The company said the drug proved ineffective in a midstage clinical trial. The stock lost 6.8% to $29.53.

Currency traders were bidding up the yen Friday following the big gains on the Japanese stock market. The yen had its biggest one-day gain against the dollar in five weeks, rising to 130.71 against the greenback from 131.65 Thursday.

Foreign markets were primarily higher, with London's FTSE 100 adding 0.1% to 5324 and Germany's Xetra Dax up 0.9% to 5319. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 3.1% to 10,871, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.4% to 11,702.

Treasury issues in the U.S. were lower for most of the day, but around 4 p.m. EST, short-term notes were slightly higher. The 10-year note was losing 4/32 at 99 2/32, yielding 5.12%.