Stocks Mostly Lower Amid Mixed Corporate, Economic News With BC-Wall Street-Glance, AM-Wall
Stocks Mostly Lower Amid Mixed Corporate, Economic News With BC-Wall Street-Glance, AM-Wall Street-Stocks
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks finished mostly lower Tuesday as the market steadied after the previous session’s surge and investors reviewed mixed financial results from corporations.
The Dow Jones industrial average meandered at modestly lower levels throughout the uneventful session before closing at 3,699.54, off 6.24. The popular market indicator advanced 57.10 points Monday to end above 3,700 for the first time in about a month.
Most broad market measures heavily weighted with New York Stock Exchange issues also lost ground. The NYSE composite slipped 0.06 to 250.41 and Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index shed 0.84 to 451.87.
But advancing stocks outpaced declines on the Big Board by about 7 to 5. Volume on the NYSE floor came to 287.99 million shares as of 4 p.m. EDT, compared to 262.24 million shares on Monday.
Among other stock gauges, the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index rose 3.41 to 734.21 and the American Stock Exchange market value index added 2.23 to close at 438.20.
Investors seemed unwilling to take positions ahead of a potentially market- moving economic report due Thursday. U.S. financial markets will be closed Wednesday to honor former President Richard Nixon, who died Friday.
The Commerce Department on Thursday will release its first estimate on economic growth during January through March. Analysts expect the gross domestic product report to show growth of about 3.3 percent.
″For the most part, this was a day of rest for the market,″ said James Solloway, research director at Argus Research Corp. ″Traders weren’t willing to make big bets on either stocks or bonds. Thursday could be an interesting day depending on what the GDP report shows.″
The lackluster day for stocks came despite a decent showing for bonds in the face of mixed economic news.
Report of a boost in consumer confidence eroded some of the optimism sparked by a Labor Department report on employment costs.
But the optimism prevailed and the bond market moved ahead. The key 30-year Treasury bond was up 5/8 point in late trading, producing a yield of 7.10 percent, down from 7.15 percent late Monday.
The Conference Board, a New York research group, said its index of consumer confidence jumped 5 points in April to 91.7, up 24 points from the same time a year ago.
Signs of strong economic activity usually upset bond traders who worry that rapid growth will breed inflation, which devalues fixed interest-bearing investments.
Good inflation news, however, muted the impact of the confidence report. The Labor Department said its employment cost index, which is considered one of the best gauges of wage inflation pressures, rose 3.2 percent in the year ended March 31, the smallest increase on record.
Tobacco stocks caught fire, ignited by news that Britain’s BAT Industries has agreed to pay $1 billion in cash for The American Tobacco Co., a division of American Brands, which jumped 2 7/8 to 34 5/8 in active NYSE trading.
Other heavily traded tobacco stocks included RJR Nabisco, which gained to 6 7/8 in Big Board-leading volume and Philip Morris, which moved up 2 to 54 1/4 . Philip Morris’ board is studying the possibility of splitting its tobacco and non-tobacco businesses, and analysts say RJR Nabisco probably is doing the same.
Healthy quarterly results helped Disney gain 1 1/8 to 43 1/2 while an unexpectedly poor report drove the insurer UNUM Corp.’s stock down 4 to 50 1/4 in heavy Big Board turnover.
Elsewhere, RHI Entertainment surged 9 1/8 to 35 5/8 on the American exchange in response to news that Hallmark Cards will acquire all outstanding shares for $36 each.
One big loser was the Mexican issue Gupta, which tumbled 9 3/4 to 13 and headed the Nasdaq list of active stocks.
Foreign stock markets turned in varying performances. On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 80.21 points, or 0.41 percent, closing at 19,628.93. Shares moved higher in Frankfurt, London and Paris.