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Stocks Remain Modestly Mixed in Lackluster Trading

The recent rise in bond yields is putting a damper on the market.
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The major stock averages were narrowly mixed at midmorning, with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

and small-cap

Russell 2000

slightly higher.

The Nasdaq Comp was up 14 to 2274. The Russell 2000 was up fractionally at 391.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 7 to 9291, while the

S&P 500

was down 2 to 1236 Internet Sector

was up 4 to 465. E-Commerce Index

was down fractionally at 94.

"The market's just gone sideways this week," said Louis Todd, head of equities trading at

J.C. Bradford

. He said he is detecting a growing bearish sentiment in the market, citing the decrease in bullish sentiment in the

Investors Intelligence

sentiment survey. In its latest survey, bullish sentiment dropped to 55.7% from 61.2%.

The recent rise in bond yields have become a competitive force for the stock market, Todd said.

As for today, the market later in the session could experience some volatility because of the double expiration of some stock and futures options, he said.

Todd pointed out that there is still a lot of money out there in money-market funds waiting to go into stocks.

He said if the bond market were to rally, that might prompt investors to put money back into stocks.

Meanwhile, the 30-year Treasury bond was down 4/32 to 98 1/32, yielding 5.39%, off its modest intraday lows.

On the economic front, topping today's indicators, the overall

consumer price index

in January rose 0.1%, while the core PPI also inched up 0.1%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,456 to 1,068 on 198 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners were edging losers 1,572 to 1,432 on 220 million shares.

On the NYSE, 41 issues had set new 52-week lows while 16 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 37 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 8.

On the Big Board,

Total Renal Care


was most active with 5 million shares changing hands. It was up 1 1/8, or 12%, to 9 7/8.

On the Nasdaq,


(DELL) - Get Free Report

was most active on volume of 8 million shares. It was down 9/16 to 82 3/8.

9:58 a.m.: Stocks Mostly Higher at Open as Treasuries Fall

The major stock averages were narrowly mixed in the early going, while the 30-year Treasury bond fell modestly.P/>The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 7 to 9306. The

S&P 500

was down fractionally at 1237. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 14 to 2275. The

Russell 2000

was up 2 to 393. Internet Sector

was up 7 to 468. E-Commerce Index

was up fractionally at 94.

The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond was down 11/32 to 97 26/32, yielding 5.40%.

On the economic front, the overall

consumer price index

in January rose 0.1%, while the core CPI also rose 0.1%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Free Report, up 2 to 95 3/4


Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upgraded Dow Chemical to outperform from neutral.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq (AMZN) - Get Free Report, up 4 7/8 to 94 3/8




CIBC Oppenheimer

analyst Henry Blodget said it may be time to buy shares of the online book and music merchant.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Unilever (UN) - Get Free Report, down 2 3/8 to 71 3/4


Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Sepracor (SEPR) , down 3 1/2 to 133 3/4

: The company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.10 a share, beating the 11-analyst

First Call

consensus estimate of a loss of $1.11, but worse than the year-ago loss of 51 cents.