Dow falls, but Nasdaq manages a new high 30 industrials down 16

other indexes buoyed by software publishers

April 20, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday. Microsoft Corp. and other software publishers gained after reporting better-than-expected earnings, but the Dow Jones industrial average fell.

The Nasdaq composite index climbed 2.40 to 1138.70 -- its 13th record this year and the third this week -- bringing this year's return to 8.23 percent, the best among major U.S. stock market )) averages. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.45 to 645.06. Microsoft is in both indexes.

The Dow industrials sank 16.26 to 5,535.48, hurt by a series of computer-guided "sell" orders and falling prices for a handful of leading stocks, such as Philip Morris Cos., International Paper Co. and Aluminum Co. of America. For the week, the 30-stock average rose 2.89 points.

Philip Morris and other shares of companies with big operations outside the United States retreated as a rising U.S. dollar darkened prospects for overseas earnings growth.

The Russell 2,000 index of small company stocks advanced 1.05 a record 338.51, its third of the week. The Wilshire 5,000 index rose 19.87 to 6,392.60 and the American Stock Exchange market value index climbed 2.80 to 585.88.

Trading was moderate yesterday as 435 million shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, swelled in part by expiring options on individual stocks and stock indexes. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners on the Big Board by about 7 to 5.

Microsoft rose 75 cents to $109.75, after once rallying to a record $112.125. The world's largest software publisher reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share, up from 63 cents in the same quarter a year ago and 3 cents ahead of analysts' estimate.

Strong sales of all Microsoft's products worldwide propelled earnings 42 percent. Even with slowing PC sales forecast for the next few months, investors expect new versions of Windows NT networking and corporate software to bolster earnings in coming quarters.

On Wednesday, International Business Machines Corp. undermined faith in computer companies' ability to increase profits when it warned that future earnings growth may slow, driving down its stock by 9 percent.

Smaller software publishers joined Microsoft in reporting better-than-expected earnings.

Pure Software Inc. rose $4.75 to $41 after its quarterly profit rose to 9 cents a share from 4 cents, beating forecasts of 8 cents.

Shiva Corp. rallied $9.50 to $108. Its first-quarter earnings grew to 29 cents a share from 16 cents last year, surpassing analysts' forecast of 25 cents.

Viasoft Inc. jumped $1.875 to $37. Financial auditors confirmed that no Viasoft executives misused the software company's travel discounts and rebates.

Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, climbed $3.50 to $70. First-quarter earnings from continuing operations fell to 74 cents a share from 75 cents last year, a penny above estimates.

Symbol Technologies Inc., a maker of bar-code scanning equipment, gained $2.625 to $42.25.

Quarterly profits rose to 49 cents a share from 40 cents last year, 9 cents above estimates.

American Express Co. fell 62.5 cents to $46.50. The charge-card company earned 80 cents a share in the first quarter, up from 70 cents a share last year and matching analysts' estimate.

Ascent Entertainment Group climbed $2.125 to $17.125. The Denver-based cable television company agreed to buy Spectravision Inc., now in bankruptcy proceedings, and assume million of outstanding debt. Ascent also said its first-quarter loss narrowed to 14 cents a share in the first quarter from 15 cents a year ago.

Major overseas stock markets were higher. Britain's FT-SE 100 index gained 0.95 percent to a record 3857, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.31 and Germany's DAX index also added 0.04 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.33 percent.

Pub Date: 4/20/96

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