Dow up 13.78 points, to 3,200, in active trading

WALL STREET

October 23, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

NEW YORK -- The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.78 points yesterday, to 3,200.88. Volume was active.

On a largely featureless day, BankAmerica stood out as a high-volume loser, after its third-quarter earnings report sparked anxiety over the health of its asset base after its merger with Security Pacific.

The Dow rose 14 points, to a session high of 3,201, in early trading after a strong opening in stock index futures distracted the market from its recent preoccupation with the threat of rising Treasury bond yields.

The Treasury bond had been down 30/32 earlier, after a better-than-expected report on new jobless claims for the week that ended Oct. 10. Claims declined 15,000, instead of rising 15,000, as expected. But bonds, which had alarmed stock traders by falling in four of the previous five sessions, were trimming their losses as stocks opened.

The market also got a boost from news late Wednesday that New York Stock Exchange short interest had risen to a record high, up 4.5 percent for the month that ended Oct. 15. High short interest is considered bullish for stocks because short sell

ers, who bet on a market decline, must eventually buy back the stock they have borrowed.

Edward LaVarnway, vice president of investment strategy at First Albany, estimates that 65 percent to 70 percent of third-quarter corporate earnings have been released.

Just 46 percent of those companies have reached, or exceeded, expectations; 54 percent have fallen below expectations.

"The sense we get is that third-quarter 1992 is looking OK year-over-year," Mr. LaVarnway said. "Overall, earnings are up about 10 percent from third-quarter 1991.

"But quarter to quarter, the situation is a little disturbing," he said. "Third-quarter '92 results are coming in about 6 percent below second-quarter '92 results, and that's a concern."

Results have been adequate to sustain the market near current levels, but not good enough to push it higher, he concluded.

At the close, the Dow had risen 13.78 points, but broader blue-chip averages fell, and secondary measures failed to outperform blue chipsas much as on Wednesday.

Declining stocks outpaced advancing issues on the NYSE by 964 to 789, on active volume of 216 million shares, down slightly from 218 million Wednesday.

Among Dow components, only 3M posted a prominent gain, after reporting third-quarter net, rising 1 1/2 , to 101 1/4 , on earnings of $1.54 a share, compared with $1.35 a year ago.

Caterpillar rose 5/8 , to 53 1/2 , after announcing a 23-cents-a-share earnings gain, compared with a 37 cent loss a year ago. McDonald's rose only 1/4 , to 42 7/8 , despite record earnings of 79 cents a share.

BankAmerica received much more attention, falling 2 1/4 , to 41 3/4 , topping the NYSE's most-actives list, with 3.5 million shares.

Although earnings were in line with expectations -- $1.22 a share, compared with $1.20 a year ago, and above the mean Wall Street projection of $1.19 -- details in the report highlighted the bank's exposure to non-performing loans after its merger with Security Pacific Corp.

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