Computer stocks help offset laggards Dow declines 11.47 points as trading remains mixed

September 19, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed for a second day yesterday as computer issues such as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. again reached records, helping offset weaker machinery and retail issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 11.47 to 5,877.36, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index dipped 1.47 to 681.47. Stocks suffered from an unexpectedly weak July export report.

The Nasdaq composite index, home to both Intel and Microsoft, climbed 2.40 to 1,205.71.

On the broad market, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks slid 0.67 to 341.58; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges, dropped 14.71 to 6,687.16; the American Stock Exchange market value index fell .51 to 566.65; and the S&P midcap index lost 1.07 to 238.06.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancing issues by about 14 to 10 on the New York Stock Exchange, where 397 million shares changed hands, below the average for the past three days.

Among the biggest percentage decliners in the S&P 500 were farm and construction-equipment makers Deere & Co., down $1.125 to $41.875, and Case Corp., off $1 at $47.625. Cincinnati Milacron Inc., a maker of machine tools, fell 62.5 cents to $21.25.

Gillette Co. fell 62.5 cents to $67.625. The razor blade maker, which recently agreed to buy Duracell International Inc. for $7.8 billion, made 70 percent of its sales last year overseas. Duracell, which gets half its sales abroad, slipped 87.5 cents to $59.75.

Netscape Communications Corp. slumped $3.375 to $42.625 in trading of more than 3.8 million shares after Merrill Lynch & Co. cut its investment opinion to "neutral." Merrill said the Internet pioneer's window of opportunity against Microsoft, the country's leading software publisher, is shrinking fast.

Netscape's travails indirectly gave a boost to Microsoft. Microsoft rose $2.625 to $136.50.

Intel soared $1.375 to a record $95.625. Tuesday, the nation's largest maker of computer chips said sales were unexpectedly strong in the current quarter.

Zenith Electronics Corp. climbed $2 to $16.625. Its chairman denied speculation the maker of consumer electronics is in talks to be sold.

Concern about the pace of economic growth and questions about the strength of Christmas sales hurt retail stocks. Sears, Roebuck & Co. fell 50 cents to $44.875; Wal-Mart Stores Inc. slipped 50 cents to $26.625; and Dayton-Hudson Corp. declined $1 to $34.25.

Higher crude oil prices helped boost oil stocks. As Texas oil for delivery next month jumped 58 cents a barrel to $23.89, shares of Texaco Inc. soared $1.25 to $95. Mobil Corp. advanced $1.50 to $118.625 and Exxon Corp. gained 62.5 cents to $85.75.

C. R. Bard Inc. fell 50 cents to $29.75 after a medical report suggested catheters, an inexpensive, popular medical device used to evaluate the heart could actually hasten the death of critically ill patients.

Citicorp dropped 12.5 cents to $87.625, and Wells Fargo & Co. fell $1.875 to $258.875.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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