P&G leads decline as Dow falls 44.83 Consumer goods stocks lose out to smaller and computer-related shares

Wall Street

September 06, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday as investors shied from Procter & Gamble Co. and other consumer goods shares amid signs of slowing earnings growth, shoveling money into small and computer-related shares with better prospects.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.83, or 0.6 percent, to 7,822.41. P&G led the decline after it was downgraded by Smith Barney Inc. on concern that the strengthening dollar would crimp earnings.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller shares shot up 3.32, or 0.8 percent, to 433.03, a seventh straight record, led by Arterial Vascular Engineering Inc.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 11.14, or 0.7 percent, to 1,635.77, its first record since Aug. 6. Dell Computer Corp., which has more than quintupled in the past year, helped lead the gain.

A government report released before the start of trading showed that businesses added 49,000 jobs in August, contributing to the perception that the economy continues to expand.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.82, or 0.2 percent, to 929.05. Boston Scientific Corp. was among the biggest decliners, falling $13.25 to $62.625 after saying profits won't live up to analyst forecasts in the third quarter or year.

Among other broad market indexes, the American Stock Exchange composite index advanced 5.29 to 667.55, and the S&P 400 midcap index gained 1.29 to 321.99, both records. The Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, added 2.99 to 8,943.92.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange 1,652 to 1,168. Trading on the Big Board totaled 536 million shares, above the three-month daily average of 524 million.

For the week, the Dow industrials rose 2.6 percent, recouping three-quarters of last week's loss. The S&P 500 rose 3.3 percent, the Nasdaq rose 3.1 percent and the Russell rose 2.3 percent.

A retreat in bonds pulled stocks from their highs amid concern that inflation might become enough of a problem to force interest rates higher. The yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose 4 basis points to 6.64 percent, after dropping to 6.55 percent after the report.

A host of companies disclosed that they won't live up to analysts' earnings forecasts.

Tupperware Corp., a plastic containers maker, dropped $7.3125 to $27.8125 after warning that third-quarter earnings will be "down significantly" because of lower Latin American sales.

American Standard Co. fell $4.125 to $41 after saying third-quarter earnings will be below analysts' expectations because of slow air-conditioner sales.

Ault Inc., a maker of battery chargers, forecast earnings for the fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31 in the range of 2 cents to 4 cents a share, less than the 10 cents it had in the year-earlier period. The company cited "weaker than planned orders." Ault fell $1.125 to $7.50.

CommScope Inc. fell $1.5625 to $14.8125 after saying international sales were weak and would result in earnings "significantly below" forecasts.

Consumer products companies fell after Smith Barney downgraded several. P&G, whose products include Tide detergent and Pampers diapers, fell $3.4375 to $133. Gillette Co., a maker of razor blades, fell $1.4375 to $81.

Arterial Vascular Engineering rose $3.9375 to $43.0625 after the maker of devices to unclog arteries said earnings might beat analyst estimates.

Dell Computer rose 62.5 cents to $87.3125 after its chairman told investors and analysts that the stock is inexpensive given the company's growth prospects.

Fred Meyer Inc., a food and general merchandise retailer, also topped estimates and the company declared its first-ever stock split, 2-for-1. The stock rose $1 to $56.

Pub Date: 9/06/97

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