Updated from 4:08 p.m. EDTBlue-chips managed to eke out gains Friday, while other shares lagged behind, as investors speculated about next week's Fed decision on rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 21.22 points, or 0.2%, at 9200.75, after being up more than 80 points earlier in the day. The Nasdaq lost 3.61 points, or 0.2%, to 1645.03, while the S&P 500 gained 1.03 points, or 0.1%, to 995.73. "Because of contracts expiration, it turned out to be a nothing day," said Alfred Kugel, chief investment strategist at Stein Roe Investment Counsel, in Chicago. Friday was a so-called quadruple witching, or expiration of various options and futures. "We've had a big move since March, so some consolidation is normal. But bears haven't been able to put it down for more than a day or two at a time, so I'm betting stocks will follow through with gains," Kugel said. Quadruple witching kept volume high, with about 1.7 billion shares traded on the NYSE and the same amount on the Nasdaq. Decliners were slightly ahead of advancers in both exchanges. The Dow has risen 22% from its 2003 low on March 11 amid expectations of stronger economic prospects in the second half of the year. The S&P has gained 24%, while the Nasdaq has jumped almost 30% in the same period. For the week, the major averages all closed with gains. The Dow rose almost 1%, while the S&P climbed 0.7% and the Nasdaq gained 1.1%. Treasuries fell, with the yield on the 10-year note up 4 basis points at 3.38%. Investors were busy speculating about the Fed's move next week, and realizing that a rate cut could come in short of the 50 basis points many are expecting. Kugel of Stein Roe said, "Either 25 or 50
Homebuilder KB Home ( KBH) beat analysts' estimates in its quarterly earnings, and boosted its expectations for full-year profit, based on historically low mortgage rates. Nonetheless, KB shares lost $5.86, or 8.4%, to $64.10. Among other preannouncements, Solectron ( SLR), a contract electronics manufacturer, said its quarterly loss will be wider than analysts had expected. Solectron shares fell 68 cents, or 15.5%, to $3.71. Canadian software maker Cognos ( COGN) said earnings will fall short of Wall Street's forecasts because of the decline of the U.S. dollar. Cognos shares shed $2.23, or 7.5%, to $27.67. Tibco Software ( TIBX) missed analysts' expectations after it reported a 4% decline in second-quarter earnings amid weak demand for its products. Tibco fell 63 cents, or 10.6%, to $5.33. Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.5% at 4153 and Germany's Xetra DAX up 0.1% at 3251. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.1% higher at 9120, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5% to 9930. Crude oil prices for future delivery were up at $26.47 in London. The dollar was practically unchanged against the yen and stronger against the euro. On Thursday, the Dow finished down 114.27 points at 9179.53. The S&P 500 fell 15.39 points to 994.70, while the Nasdaq shed 28.50 points to 1648.64.