Stocks mixed in light trading Dow industrials up 4 points, but Nasdaq is down 9 as PC shares decline

December 24, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday as declining personal computer shares offset gains in telephone companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 23.84 before noon and dropped 33.83 late in the session, ending 4.62 points higher for the day at 6,489.02.

Philip Morris Cos. led gainers among the Dow industrials, rising 2 to 113 on the New York Stock Exchange in light trading. Philip Morris pared gains to 112.125 in after-hours trading. Just 340 million shares changed hands on the NYSE, 103 million shares less than the daily trading average for the past three months.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.94 to 746.93. The Nasdaq composite index, home to many of the hard-hit computer-industry stocks, retreated 9.04 to 1,279.52.

The Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks lost 1.29 to 355.42; the Wilshire 5,000 index, made up of stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges, slumped 21.09 to 7,201.56; the American Stock Exchange market value index slid 1.03 to 580.98; and the S&P midcap index dropped 1.61 to 251.45.

Volume was unusually slow because of the pending Christmas holiday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a ratio of less than 14 to 11.

Today, stock markets close at 1 p.m.

Computer industry shares were hurt hardest as results from the DTC weekend's Christmas shopping suggested consumers shunned expensive gifts like PCs in favor of clothing and housewares.

Dell Computer retreated $3.25 to $51.75. Compaq Computer Corp. slid $4.125 to $72.625, and Gateway 2000 Inc. declined $2.625 to $54.75.

Some retail stocks, notably specialty chains, reacted negatively

to reports that sales did not reach the 4 percent to 5 percent increase many expected this holiday season.

Among weaker retail shares yesterday, Limited Inc., fell 50 cents to $18.50; Claire's Stores Inc. sank $2.75 to $11.75; and OfficeMax Inc. declined 50 cents to $10.875.

Computer stocks, among this year's biggest gainers, retreated. Intel Corp. dropped $2.375 to $132.25; Oracle Corp. declined 87.5 cents to $42.375; and International Business Machines Corp. slid 37.5 cents to $154.25. So far this year, semiconductor stocks are ahead 55 percent, software publishers by 54 percent and computer makers by 37 percent.

Telephone stocks, which are sensitive to interest rates because of their high dividends and large debt load, rallied as yields on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 6.58 percent from 6.60 percent Friday.

BellSouth Corp. rallied 87.5 cents to $38.625; Pacific Telesis Group rose 37.5 cents to $35.875; and GTE gained 62.5 cents to $44.25.

Pub Date: 12/24/96

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