Stocks mixed despite bad economic news


September 30, 1992|By Bloomberg Business News

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks closed mixed yesterday despite overhanging concerns about the economic recovery, the earnings outlook and the possible re-emergence of Ross Perot in the presidential election.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 9.46, to 3266.80, but advancing common stocks outnumbered declining issues by a narrow margin on the New York Stock Exchange. The NASDAQ Combined Composite index gained 2.29, to 577.63, Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 0.18, to 416.80 and the NYSE Composite index rose 0.20, to 228.90.

The NASDAQ composite and S&P 500 were led higher by a rebound in shares of drug companies. Trading was moderate, with about 172 million shares changing hands on the Big Board.

"The market continues to stabilize after last week's selloff, but it's too early to expect stocks to go much higher," said Richard Ciardullo, director of trading at Eagle Asset Management. "There are just too many questions confronting the stock market right now."

The stock market was hit with more negative economic news yesterday. The Commerce Department said the index of leading economic indicators fell 0.2 percent in August, while the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence slumped in September to its lowest level in seven months.

The dollar slumped more than two and a half pfennigs in Europe amid concerns about the sluggish economy and expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut the discount rate again.

"The economic news continues to be disappointing and that raises concerns about prospects for future earnings," said Edward Collins, executive vice president of institutional trading at Daiwa Securities America.

Stocks didn't react more to the economic indicators or consumer confidence reports because of apprehension ahead of Friday's release of the employment report for September, Mr. Collins said.

"The employment report has not only economic implications, but also big implications for the political future of George Bush," said William Raftery, analyst at Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. The September employment report is the last to be released before the election.

The political situation has become more cloudy with the potential re-emergence of Mr. Perot, who said he would announce this week whether he will run for president.

Drug stocks rose yesterday, led by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The drug stocks slumped in the previous three sessions amid concerns about future earnings and the possibility that Bill Clinton would impose strict pricing regulations if elected.

Bristol-Myers rose 1, to 63 5/8 . Late Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a supplemental new drug application to amend Videx's labeling to include adult patients with advanced HIV infection who have received AZT therapy.

SmithKline Beecham gained 1 1/8 , to 38, and Merck & Co. advanced 3/4 , to 44. Glaxo Holdings Plc rose 1 1/4 , to 27 1/8 , on news that the company received approval to market its migraine treatment in injection form.

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