Stocks fall, skittish over rosy forecasts Two high-tech stars, Oracle and Intel, post declines

March 07, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell for a fifth time in seven days as Oracle Corp. and Intel Corp. retreated on concern that software and semiconductor companies' profits may not rise as fast as expected this year.

Oracle's stock, up 48 percent last year, slumped $3.1875 to $36.5625 as analysts trimmed earnings forecasts for the database software company, citing an expected slowdown in European sales.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.15 to 6,944.70, after being up 41.95 points.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.43 to 798.56, bringing its loss over the last seven days to about 13 points, or 1.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite index slid 13.66 to 1,315.43. Dragging both indexes lower were Oracle and Intel, down $4.125 to $145.375. Microsoft Corp. fell $2.9375 to $97.9375.

Among broad U.S. stock indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks fell 0.13 to 363.80; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, dropped 19.21 to 7,639.68; the American Stock Exchange composite index lost .57 to 600.31; and the S&P 400 midcap index rose 0.41 to 265.78.

The most active stocks in U.S. trading were Corporate Express Inc., Oracle, Intel, Cisco Systems Inc. and Nationwide Financial Services Inc.

About 1,276 stocks rose and 1,217 issues fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 540 million shares traded, above the three-month average of 491 million shares.

The yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose to 6.88 percent, from 6.82 percent Wednesday.

The Dow's loss was tempered by gains in Texaco Inc., which climbed $2.125 to $103.875, and Chevron Corp., which jumped $1.125 to $66.50. Oil shares gained for a third day on optimism that growing worldwide energy demand will spur the industry's profits through the end of the decade.

Satisfying just the growth in Asian oil demand between now and 2010 would take the entire current production of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer, as well as the United Arab Emirates, analysts said.

Helping fuel the drop in computer-related shares was a report from Odyssey Ventures, a San Francisco research firm, that said sales to first-time buyers of computers have slowed.

The Morgan Stanley high-tech index fell 7.01 to 375.71, erasing most of a two-day advance. Texas Instruments Inc. fell $2.75 to $80.50 and Compaq Computer Corp. lost $3.50 to $77.50.

Bank shares gained after Washington Mutual Inc. agreed to buy Great Western Financial Corp. for $6.6 billion. Great Western rose $1.875 to $46.875. The Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. bank index climbed 1.55 to 626.37.

Washington Mutual fell 25 cents to $53, after topping H. F. Ahmanson's hostile bid for Great Western. Ahmanson fell $1.25 to $40.75. Citicorp climbed 37.5 cents to $122.50; BankAmerica Corp. rose $1.875 to $118.75; Wells Fargo & Co. gained $3.25 to $312.50; and Bank of New York Co. rose 75 cents to $40.625.

Several retailers gained, after reporting that sales increased in February. Best Buy Co. rose $1.125 to $9.75 and Circuit City Stores Inc. rose $1.75 to $33.50. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which also announced it would buy back an additional $2 billion shares, gained 62.5 cents to $27.25.

Glaxo Wellcome PLC, the world's largest drugmaker, was among the few pharmaceutical stocks to rise. Glaxo rose 62.5 to $33.50 after holding an upbeat meeting with analysts about its prospects.

Allergan Inc. fell $3.125 to $30.25 after warning yesterday that it expects earnings in the first half to disappoint.

Computer Horizons Corp. rallied $2.625 to $31.875 after the computer information consulting company won a multimillion-dollar contract from Lockheed Martin Corp. to provide year 2000 services to the defense contractor.

Pub Date: 3/07/97

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