Blue-Chips End Streak

Updated from 3:41 p.m. EDT

A wave of profit-taking sent blue-chips to their first down session in six Thursday, while tech shares continued their steady ascent in the year's heaviest Nasdaq volume.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 82 points, or 0.9%, to 8711. The Nasdaq gained 11 points, or almost 0.8%, to 1574, and the S&P 500 fell 4 points, or 0.4%, to 949. The Dow went as high as 8863 earlier, while the Nasdaq touched 1591.

"The market got tired on the upside, but the main theme stays the same: The Nasdaq is doing well and the average stock is doing better than the stock averages," said Frank Gretz, market analyst at Shields & Co.

On the NYSE, 1.7 billion shares were traded, with advancers outpacing decliners by a ratio of 17 to 15. More than 2.2 billion shares traded hands on the Nasdaq, with winners leading losers by a margin of almost 17 to 13.

The Commerce Department said first-quarter growth in gross domestic product was a revised 1.9%, better than the initial 1.6% estimate and in line with economists' expectations. The increase reflected gains in personal spending. The Labor Department, meanwhile, reported a decline in initial jobless claims to 424,000 in the week ended May 24, from 433,000 a week earlier.

Qwest ( Q) posted a profitable first quarter thanks to an accounting gain. But revenue fell 9%, and the company said its numbers might change as its auditors work to complete a big earnings restatement. Qwest shares fell 10 cents, or 2.1%, to $4.60.

Homebuilder Hovnanian ( HOV) rose $3.14, or 6%, to $55.45 after the company said fiscal second-quarter net profit was more than twice what it earned last year.

Meanwhile, a $100 million convertible-debt deal announced Wednesday night by AskJeeves ( ASKJ) was weighing on the search-engine company's shares. They shed $1.19, or 8.4%, to $13.02.

Lucent ( LU) also tapped the convertible market, saying late Wednesday that it plans a $1.3 billion deal and will use the proceeds to reduce debt. The company also lined up a $595 million credit line. Lucent dropped 2 cents, or 0.9%, to $2.26.

Juniper ( JNPR) successfully placed $350 million worth of zero-coupon convertibles earlier in the week. The shares closed down 24 cents, or 1.7%, at $13.66.

SBC Communications ( SBC) was edging lower after Standard & Poor's downgraded the local telephone company's rating by one notch to its fifth-highest investment grade. The shares fell 12 cents, or 0.5%, to $25.20.

Elsewhere, Lehman Brothers lowered its 2003 earnings estimate for Motorola ( MOT), citing weak demand for handsets in China because of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. Shares of Motorola rose 10 cents, or 1.2%, to $8.70.

Meanwhile, financial services firm John Hancock ( JHF) is being sued for allegedly tying top executives' salaries to the performance of its 2000 IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal.

TechData ( TECD) shares fell $1.64, or 6.3%, to $24.36 after the company released first-quarter results that showed flat sales and sharply lower earnings, and issued a disappointing outlook.

Allos Therapeutics ( ALTH) rose $1.42, or 61%, to $3.73, after the company announced a restructuring plan including cuts in expenses and workforce. The plan would also enable the company to bring its cancer drug RSR13 to market.

Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.3% at 4083 and Germany's Xetra DAX down 0.4% at 2906. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.7% higher at 8375, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.1% to 9508.

Treasuries were higher, with the yield on the 10-year note down 8 basis points at 3.34%. Crude oil futures were up to $29.20 a barrel in New York. The dollar was higher against the yen and euro.

On Wednesday, the Dow ended up 11 points, or 0.1%, at 8793. The S&P 500 rose almost 2 points, or 0.2%, to 953, while the Nasdaq gained almost 7 points, or 0.4%, to 1563.

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