Stocks slunk away into the Memorial Day weekend with another light-volume session of index losses and negative breadth, leaving Wall Street uncertain whether the break will be a restorative respite or just a hiccup in a longer muddle.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
made a V pattern on intraday charts until about 3 p.m. EDT, peeking into positive territory, at which point it started toward making a W. The blue-chip measure never got back down to its circa-12:45 low of 9077.32, but it finished down 17.93 at 9114.44.
were the worst performers on the downside, with
leading the gainers. Meanwhile, the broad
shed 4.17 to 1110.47.
High-tech stocks lagged the overall market, with the 17-member software group losing 2.4% to finish dead last among the 88 Dow Jones industry groups. The tech-infested
Nasdaq Composite Index
lost 15.99, or 0.9%, to 1805.00 and the large-cap
stumbled 8.81, or 0.7%, to 1214.89, only seeming to recover smartly from their midmorning lows. (As noted in today's
Midday Musings, a
Nasdaq Stock Market
error in incorporating an
poking up just slightly. Small-caps continued to reel lower, with the
down 4.20, or 0.9%, to 462.99.
Among other indices, the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
moved up 8.72 to 3390.59, the
Dow Jones Utilities Average
edged down 0.20 to 280.06 and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
lost 1.79 to 730.57.
For the week, the Dow industrials gained 18.44, or 0.2%; the S&P 500 gained 1.74, or 0.2%; the Nasdaq Comp fell 41.77, or 2.3%; the Russell 2000 fell 9.45, or 2%; the Dow transports fell 34.14, or 1%; the Dow utilities crept up 0.14; and the Amex Composite fell 6.52, or 0.9%. Dow theorists believe new highs in the industrials must be confirmed by highs in the transports, and that's becoming increasingly unlikely as the transports keep swirling down the drain. The transportation index is 8% short of its April 16 high of 3686.02, while the Dow 30 is just 1.1% short of its May 13 mark of 9211.84.
The pre-holiday exodus from Wall Street led to the second-lowest daily volume of the year on the
New York Stock Exchange
, and breadth stayed firmly negative on both major exchanges. NYSE decliners topped advancers by 1,777 to 1,058 on 448.2 million shares, second only to Jan. 2's 366.1 million in sluggishness. New Big Board lows led new highs by 56 to 44. On the Nasdaq, 2,503 decliners outpaced 1,737 advancers on 644 million shares. New Nasdaq lows beat new highs by 110 to 54.
"We're in this digestive phase," said Steven Goldman, market strategist at
in Greenwich, Conn. "We're also seeing insider selling and an abundance of IPOs in the last two and half months. We're probably taking a lot of liquidity out of the market. We have rates that really haven't done much over the past few months in propelling the market forward." The bond market today did its part to support stocks in a shortened pre-holiday session, as the benchmark 30-year Treasury rose 14/32 to 103 1/32. Its yield eased to 5.91%, remaining well within the recent narrow range.
Goldman said he's adopting a more defensive posture, sensing that interest rates are likely to head higher if they do break out of their confines. "I still think there'll be upside movement occurring along the way, but a lot more time spent in this choppy sort of environment -- the tipoff being that the market does look exhausted here," he said.
But Goldman isn't among the strategists fearing the approaching second-quarter preannouncement season, in which companies expecting to report disappointing earnings will warn the Street. "In March, a period that really should have been one of concern, the market didn't really slow down," he noted. Still, he acknowledged that the market is on much weaker footing than it was during the first-quarter warning period.
Elsewhere in North American equities today, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
edged up 6.97 to 7725.20 and the Mexican
slipped 12.00 to 4648.43. For the week, the TSE 300 gained 41.18, or 0.5%, and the Bolsa fell 137.75, or 2.9%.
Friday's Company Report
Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified
slumped 3 11/16 to 105 7/16 after the
Food and Drug Administration
announced that six men have died after taking the company's vastly popular impotence drug,
. It's unclear whether any of the deaths were caused by the drug, the agency said.
explored mounting investor worries about the drug in a
story and noted put payoffs on the stock in an
Yesterday, Pfizer fell on news that the company was writing letters to emergency room doctors and technicians to reiterate warnings about the danger of combining Viagra with organic nitrates such as the angina drug nitroglycerin.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
After its options' volume surged most of the week,
rose 2 7/16, or 6.6%, to 39 3/8 on rumors
will take over the company.
jumped 3 7/8, or 6.3%, to 65 9/16 after
take-it-with-a-mountain-of-salt "Inside Wall Street" column said
is considering buying the company. DuPont tacked on 15/16 to 82 7/16.
Earnings reports and previews
tumbled 18 9/16, or 38.9%, to 29 1/4 after saying
last night that it expects to report a first-quarter loss. Today,
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
lowered it to neutral from outperform. Among competitors,
fell 5 7/8, or 8.2%, to 65 11/16, and
fell 2 1/4, or 5.1%, to 42 1/8 on sympathy pains.
Smart Modular Technologies
lowered 7 11/16, or 36.7%, to 13 7/8 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter cut it to neutral from outperform and the company said it expects an "uncertain environment" in the coming two quarters.
Last night, Smart Modular posted on-target second-quarter earnings.
sank 8 1/4, or 25.3%, to 24 3/8 after saying late
yesterday that it expects to report second-earnings 25% to 30% below expectations. Competitor
dropped 6 1/8, or 16.1%, to 32 1/8.
gave up 1 7/16, or 10.5%, to 12 5/16 after posting a first-quarter loss
slipped 2 5/8, or 7.8%, to 31 despite
last night announcing better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.
lost 1 1/2, or 6%, to 23 1/2 after beating analysts' first-quarter expectations
Computer Learning Centers
sailed 7/8, or 5.4%, to 17 1/16 after
last night beating first-quarter earnings estimates by a nickel.
skidded 2 13/16, or 5.4%, to 49 1/4 despite
last night reporting second-quarter earnings of 29 cents per share, 2 cents above estimates. The company also said it faces "continued uncertainty" regarding the volume of orders from major clients
raised it to strong buy from buy, WorldCom gained 3/4 to 45 1/4. AT&T rose 5/16 to 58 15/16.
dived 1/2 to 10 15/16 despite reporting second-quarter earnings late
Offerings and stock actions
soared 2 3/8, or 9.3%, to 27 7/8 after yesterday setting a quarterly dividend of 11 cents per share.
leapt 1 5/16 to 36 1/2 after last night setting a 2-for-1 stock split.
plunged 2 15/16, or 24.2%, to 9 1/4 after
downgraded it to hold from strong buy.
sprung 2 1/4, or 5.8%, to 41 1/4 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised it to strong buy from outperform.
Sequent Computer Systems
shed 1 1/16, or 5.7%, to 17 9/16 after
lowered it to outperform from buy.
Correctional Properties Trust
took in 3/16 to 21 1/16 after
Salomon Smith Barney
both initiated coverage with buys.
lost 1 1/16 to 42 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter resumed coverage with a strong buy.
climbed 1 1/8, or 24.3%, to 5 13/16 after reporting that more than 6,000 consumers have used the company's free Internet-based investment tool,
, in the week since it was launched May 14.
Think New Ideas
plummeted 5 3/8, or 18.5%, to 23 11/16 after saying its Chairman and CEO Scott Mednick is leaving to pursue philanthropic opportunities. President and COO Ron Bloom will become CEO.
plunged 1 1/2, or 7.5%, to 18 7/16 after
reported that two large shareholders in
Group Long Distance
-- a Florida company that resells telephone service for Tel-Save -- have accused the company of shifting millions of dollars in marketing expenses off its books to Group Long Distance. Group Long Distance closed flat at 2 7/16.
dwindled 1 9/16, or 5.9%, to 24 7/8 after
said it will cut most of its ties with the company. Yahoo!, which sank 2 15/16 to 114 3/8, will stop producing the
Netscape Guide by Yahoo!
and stop being a "premier provider" on Netscape's search page.
shot up 1 3/8, or 13.8%, to 11 5/16 after agreeing to a marketing partnership with Yahoo! to sell its
cold-relief lozenge over the Internet.
lowered 5/8 to 78 13/16 after saying it will pay around $4 million per year to be the
National Football League's
national soft-drink sponsor.
Microsoft lost 13/16 to 85 9/16 after a federal judge combined the federal and state antitrust suits against the company and scheduled trial for Sept. 8.
Cisco fell 7/8 to 76 7/8 after saying it plans to buy additional property in the south San Francisco Bay area which could accommodate 10,000 new workers.