Dow rises 21 points in mixed session Software stocks are weak, while Nasdaq drops 6.24


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed for a second day yesterday after Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged at a policy meeting.

Gains in DuPont Co., Aluminum Co. of America and Philip Morris Cos. drove the Dow Jones industrial average higher for a third day. Sliding software stocks hurt the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The 30-stock Dow industrials rose 21.82 to 5,721.26, its highest since July 1 and just 1 percent below its May 22 record of 5,788. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.89 to 665.69, still 1.9 percent below its late May peak.

The Nasdaq composite index slumped 6.24 to 1,124.67, its third straight decline. The largest percentage losers were HBO & Co. and Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc.

About 12 stocks rose for every 11 that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 335 million shares changed hands.

The Russell 2,000 index of small-company shares fell 0.14 to 329.2; the Wilshire 5,000 index fell 7.95 to 6,504.57; the S&P Midcap 400 index slipped 0.02 to 230.8; and the American Stock Exchange market value index rose 1.69 to 559.29.

HBO slid $5.25 to $56.50 as stockbroker Morgan Keegan & Co. began research coverage of the seller of computer software to hospitals with an "underperform" rating.

Other software publishers slumped. First Data Corp. slid $3.50 to $77.375 after Morgan Stanley & Co. lowered its estimate of what the credit-card transaction processor will earn next year.

Stewart & Stevenson fell $1.3125 to $20.0625 after the maker of auto parts said second-quarter earnings dropped to 16 cents a share from 51 cents a share last year. Analysts had expected 38 cents.

Among the Dow industrials, Philip Morris Cos. climbed $1.625 to $91.50. The company has raised its dividend in late August for the past few years.

Alcoa rose $1.375 to $63.125. Aluminum orders are improving and inventories aren't excessive, Merrill Lynch said. After the market closed, Alcoa said 475 salaried workers accepted incentives to resign or retire, and said it expected to fire other employees.

DuPont jumped $1.875 to $83.625. A product marketed by its joint venture with Merck & Co. to help doctors learn the severity of lung cancer won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

Griffin Gaming & Entertainment Inc. surged $7.125 to $19.375 and Sun International Hotels Ltd. fell $3.625 to $48.125 a day after Sun agreed to buy Griffin for $210 million in stock and cash. Entertainer Merv Griffin stands to collect $52.5 million from his 25 percent stake in the company.

Tylan General Inc. rose $2.875 to $13.125. The maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment said it is exploring a possible sale of the San Diego-based company, which went public in January 1995 at $7 a share.

Among banks, Wells Fargo & Co. climbed $2.125 to $256.625; First Bank System Inc. gained $1.125 to $64; and Chase Manhattan Corp. climbed 75 cents to $77.625.

The strongest petroleum-related companies included Schlumberger Ltd., ahead $1.75 to $87.25; Western Atlas Inc., up $1.50 to $59.50; and Halliburton Co., up 75 cents to $55.625.

Veterinary Centers of America Inc. rose $1.125 to $21.125 as Merrill Lynch & Co. raised the pet hospital operator to "buy" from "accumulate."

American depositary receipts of Astra AB climbed $1.375 to $41.50 after Merrill Lynch said it expects the Swedish pharmaceutical maker to boost earnings by about 15 percent annually.

Urban Outfitters Inc. dropped $3.125 to $21.375. The specialty apparel retailer's fiscal second-quarter earnings only matched analysts' expectations of 16 cents, up from 13 cents last year.

Treasury bonds were little changed as yields on benchmark 30-year bonds were unchanged at 6.79 percent.

Pub Date: 8/21/96

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