Updated from 4:03 p.m. EDT
Tech stocks finished with decent gains in light pre-holiday trading Thursday as strength in
helped the semiconductor sector get past rising bond yields.
rose 11.43 points, or 0.49%, to 2326.11, reflecting a 1.7% jump in Intel, a 0.8% rise in
and a 4% surge in
Dow Jones Industrial Average
added 7.68 points, or 0.07%, to 11,137.65, while the
rose 1 point, or 0.08%, to 1289.12.
"Stocks have had a real tough time maintaining gains this whole week," said Paul Nolte, director of investments with Hinsdale Associates. "When we start taking a look around, gains tend to evaporate. Today, investors are looking at tech leaders. Those stocks are where the weight is being carried."
For the holiday-shortened week, the Nasdaq lost 13 points, or 0.5%, and the S&P 500 was off 6 points, or 0.5%. The Dow added almost 18 points, or 0.1%.
About 1.24 billion shares traded on the
New York Stock Exchange
, with decliners beating advancers by a 9-to-7 margin. Trading volume on the Nasdaq was 1.54 billion shares, with advancers outpacing decliners 3 to 2.
"We have strong volume on down days, and weak volume on up days," said Nolte. "That's the trend for the last couple weeks. That's telling that investors are more interested in selling than they are buying."
The 10-year Treasury fell 16/32 in price to yield 5.05%, marking the first time since mid-2002 it's been above 5%. The dollar was flat against the yen and the euro.
Larry Wachtel, senior market analyst with Wachovia Securities, said rising yields were restraining blue chips. "This news trumps any economic or earnings data," he said. "It's a rate-driven market, even with oil competing for headlines. Any weakness we may see will be due to these bond yields."
led the earnings parade, posting first-quarter earnings that were in line with estimates, as profits rose 14% to $4 billion, or 39 cents a share. Sales climbed 10% to $37.8 billion.
The industrial titan pegged second-quarter earnings at 46 cents to 48 cents a share and full-year earnings at $1.94 to $2.02 a share. Analysts had forecast 47 cents and $1.99 a share. Shares of GE finished down 57 cents, or 1.7%, to $33.89.
swung to a first-quarter profit of $185 million, or 38 cents a share, on an 8.6% jump in revenue to $1.33 billion. The sales number matched estimates, and the profit was 8 cents better than expected. Still, shares were under pressure after the company said second-quarter revenue would be flat to slightly lower than the first quarter's. AMD dropped $3.62, or 10.2%, to $31.80.
Despite AMD's decline, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector index ended the session up 0.3%. Other gainers included the Amex Airline index, up 1.6%, and the Philadelphia/KBW Bank Sector index, adding 0.4%. Elsewhere, the Amex Gold Bugs was higher by 0.7%, and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index rose 1.2%.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department said that March retail sales rose 0.6%, better than analysts' expectations of a 0.5% rise. Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.4%, in line with expectations.
To view Kara Wetzel's video take on today's market, click here
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said that import prices fell 0.4% in March, as petroleum prices declined 0.7%. Economists expected import prices to rise 0.1% for the month. Export prices rose 0.2%
The Labor Department released a separate report on initial jobless claims, which rose by 12,000 to 313,000 for the week ended April 8. The number was higher than expected. The four-week moving average fell by 1,500 to 307,500.
Also Thursday, the University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer sentiment came in at 89.2. Economists had expected the reading to dip slightly to 88.5 in April from March's final reading of 88.9.
Oil continued higher, as the May contract has surged more than 10% over the past two weeks on continuing tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions. In Nymex floor trading, May crude finished the session up 70 cents to close at $69.32 a barrel.
Other companies with earnings news included
, which said its first-quarter profit fell 29% to $100.7 million, or 33 cents a share. Backing out a net 5-cent charge, earnings beat estimates by a penny. Tribune gained 18 cents, or 0.6%, to $28.20.
New York & Co.
lowered its first-quarter earnings guidance on weaker-than-expected sales. The company sees earnings of 9 cents to 13 cents a share, down from a previous forecast of 20 cents to 23 cents. Shares were off 90 cents, or 6%, to close at $14.17.
said third-quarter earnings rose 45% from last year to $86.3 million, or 60 cents a share, while adjusted earnings of 65 cents a share beat estimates by 3 cents. Revenue of $437.4 million also topped forecasts. Lam Research gained $2.06, or 4.6%, to $46.77.
said U.S. same-store sales rose 6.6% during the month of March, while global same-store sales were up 5.3%. The company now expects first-quarter EPS of 49 cents, matching the Thomson First Call consensus. The stock finished down 34 cents, or 1%, to $34.85.
Prudential Equity Group cut its first-quarter and full-year estimates for Intel as the average selling price continues to fall while the company loses market share to rival AMD. The firm reiterated its underweight rating and stock price target of $15, but dropped its first-quarter earnings estimate by 2 cents to 19 cents a share and its 2006 forecast by 10 cents to 76 cents a share. Still, Intel added 33 cents, or 1.7%, to $19.45.
Morgan Stanley cut mall developer
to underweight from equal-weight, citing valuation. The firm dropped its stock price target to $25 from $46. The move comes a day after Mills announced it would reduce its quarterly dividend by 60% to 25 cents. Mills was lower by $1.80, or 5.9%, to close at $28.53.
The Thursday trading session is the last of the week in the U.S., as the markets will be closed for Good Friday. Earnings season kicks into high gear next week.
Overseas markets were higher, with London's FTSE 100 gaining 0.5% at 6029 and Germany's Xetra DAX tacking on 0.3% to 5918. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.2% overnight to 17,199, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7% to 16,429.