Whole lot of nuthin'.
A thoroughly un-noteworthy day on Wall Street. Derailed tech shares tried to get back on track, but the locomotive has yet to be repaired. Retail issues got a boost on strong January sales. And the honeymoon continued for
Dean Witter, Discover
Other than that, the day was about as exciting as a
comeback tour. Even the fans were asleep.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
waffled as to whether to go higher or lower. It finally decided to jump 26.16 to 6773.06. The broader
Standard & Poor's 500
gave up 1.68 to 779.96. The technology-rich
Nasdaq Composite Index
fell 2.04 to 1346.40, and the
toed the line at 365.49.
Analysts said the respite was just a breather. Tech shares -- and the rest of the market -- will resume rising after this year's run-up is digested.
"Tech stocks have a stop-start characteristic," says Joseph Battapaglia, chief investment strategist (and perennial bull) at
Gruntal & Co.
"I'm optimistic overall, and the surprises are going to be on the positive."
Battapaglia says the market may have enough steam to reach 7200.
Traders hope Thursday's
-- which fell 12,000 to 325,000 -- don't presage Friday's
. Too many employed Americans could suggest the
Federal Reserve Board
, which held rates steady Wednesday, might make a pre-emptive strike against inflation at its March meeting.
Concerns over the pace of the economy pushed the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury to 6.75%.
In the meantime, networking leader
(CSCO:Nasdaq) gained 1 to 63 7/8 after its CEO John Chambers made broadly optimistic comments at the
conference in Washington, D.C. The stock had given up about 17% over the past 10 sessions.
(COMS:Nasdaq) slid 2 5/8 to 52 1/4.
(AMAT:Nasdaq) rose 3 1/2 to 47 5/8 after Morgan Stanley upgraded the issue.
Computer retailers recovered.
(DELL:Nasdaq) rose 1 1/8 to 63 1/8, while
(GATE:Nasdaq) rose 1 7/8 to 57 1/4.
(AIT:NYSE) continued rising, jumping 1/2 to 59 1/4.
(INTC:Nasdaq) fell 4 1/4 to 152 15/16, while closely related
(MSFT:Nasdaq) slid 1 1/4 to 97 1/8.
Retail outlets got a boost from stronger-than-expected January sales. The
same-store sales index rose 7.2%, much higher than the 1.7% rise last year.
(LTD:NYSE) was up 1/4 to 17 3/8, while
(GPS:NYSE) jumped 2 3/8 to 32 1/4. Now there'll be one on every corner.
Chain stores were swept up with the retail rally.
(WMT:NYSE) rose 1/2 to 23 5/8 and
(S:NYSE), which sired Dean Witter, Discover, leapt 1 1/4 to 49 3/4.
(ANN:NYSE). The seller of fashionable women's wear, the subject of a favorable
Jan. 31 story in
, slipped 1 1/4 to 49 3/4 after it took a one-time charge to close nine stores.
(USAD:Nasdaq) fell 13 1/4 to 20 3/8 after coming clean on its prospects for the fourth quarter. A
downgrade to neutral from attractive helped clobber the stock.
Auto parts maker
(FMO:NYSE) rose 7/8 to 24 3/8 after announcing a restructuring that will eliminate about 2,900 employees from its payroll. Bet the bond traders are happy.
And the honeymoon continues. Morgan Stanley rose 1 1/4 to 66 1/2 and Dean Witter, Discover jumped 3/8 to 41 as traders whispered sweet nothings in their ears.
By Andrew Morse