Stocks mixed, Dow loses 16 points Nasdaq is higher, and S&P sets a record despite Asian slump

March 13, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday, as falling markets in Asia renewed concern that an economic slump there will hurt earnings of U.S. companies.

Computer-related shares such as Microsoft Corp. rose and consumer products companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 16.19 to 8,659.56, led by P&G, down $2.375 to $84.1875, and Philip Morris Cos., down $1.0625 to $43.50.

Gainers in the Dow included International Business Machines Corp., which rose $1.125 to $100.25, and Hewlett-Packard Co., which added $1.25 to $61.875.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.45 to 1,069.92, its third straight record.

The Nasdaq composite index, laden with computer-related shares, rose 7.21 to 1,764.06, led by Microsoft, up $1.1875 to $81.875. The world's biggest software maker led computer-related shares higher amid news that its Windows 98 software will be delivered June 25.

Among other broad market indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks rose 0.65 to 467.77, its second straight record; the Wilshire 5,000 index of stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges climbed 20.49 to 10,202.60, its third straight record; and the S&P 400 mid-cap index added 0.96 to 361.17, its third straight record.

The American Stock Exchange composite index gained 0.52 to 714.52.

After yesterday's close, Oracle Corp. reported third-quarter earnings that beat estimates as sales of its mainstay database software picked up after two disappointing quarters. Oracle rose as much as $3.0625 to $31 in trading after the regular Nasdaq session.

At the same time, National Semiconductor Corp. said its profit fell, hurt by slumping sales in Asia.

It had warned on Feb. 2 that earnings would suffer, yet still fell 2 cents short of the revised estimate of 18 cents a share. The company also said it will probably have a loss next quarter.

Markets declined overseas.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.08 percent to 16,575.22, its lowest close since Feb. 26, on concern that a bribery scandal at the Bank of Japan will further erode trust in the nation's ailing financial industry. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.95 percent to 10,902.47.

Most European markets were also lower, although stocks did end higher in Spain and Sweden.

Decliners and advancers were almost evenly matched on the New York Stock Exchange.

Merck, up 22 percent so far this year, fell fell 68.75 cents to $129.0625.

Philip Morris fell $1.0625 to $43.50 after two Minnesota HTC health-maintenance organizations sued U.S. cigarette companies to recover the costs of treating smokers.

Dole Food Co. fell $6.875 to $50.25. The fruit and vegetable producer said first-quarter earnings could be 50 percent less than it logged for the year-earlier quarter.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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