U.S. stocks are mixed

January 01, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were mixed yesterday, but the Nasdaq composite index, full of software, semiconductor and computer makers' shares, set another record. It rose 25.74 to close at 2,192.69 and finish the year with a 40 percent gain.

The Nasdaq-100 index of the Nasdaq market's largest stocks finished the year up 86 percent, the best showing in its 14-year history.

Large shares fell, but small companies had their best day in two months as investors completed tax-related selling on the final day of 1998.

Small and mid-size companies such as CMP Media Inc. and Covance Inc. rose, while American Express Co., DuPont Co. and J. P. Morgan & Co. declined.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 93.21, to 9,181.43, up 16 percent for the year. The average was buffeted by computer-guided buy and sell programs at the end of the session.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.70 to 1,229.23, up 27 percent for 1998. Yesterday wrapped up an unprecedented four-year streak of 20 percent-plus gains for that index.

Elsewhere on the broad market, the Russell 2,000 index of small-cap stocks rose 10.06, or 2.4 percent, to 421.97, its biggest gain in more than eight weeks; the Wilshire 5,000 index advanced 55.60, to 11,317.59, its second record in four days; the American Stock Exchange composite index jumped 16.92, to 688.99; and the S&P 400 midcap index added 14.77, to 392.31.

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index of the top 100 Maryland stocks gained 3.82, to 196.33.

About 621 million shares changed hands, compared with the 726 million daily average for the past three months.

Much of yesterday's volatility came from one computer-guided buy program and four sell programs, according to Birinyi Associates Inc., a Greenwich, Conn., research firm. The programs had the net effect of cutting 62 points from the Dow average, Birinyi said.

CMP Media, which publishes technology magazines and earlier this year was down 71 percent from its high, rose $7.25, to $18.25. The company has been hurt by declining advertising revenue as technology companies struggled amid the Asian economic slowdown.

Small stocks gained as traders anticipated the annual ``January effect.'' Historically, small stocks have bounced in January as money managers buy back the small shares they sold at the year-end tax-loss selling. The Russell 2,000, the small-company benchmark, has rallied for the past five sessions.

The Russell is down 3 percent for the year, and the largest companies accounted for most of the gains in the S&P 500. Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Lucent Technologies Inc., all in the top 20 of the S&P 500, all doubled.

BankAmerica Corp. fell $1.5625, to $60.125, on concern it will report a loss of about $100 million in the fourth quarter because of its relationship with hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co. The nation's largest bank assumed control of a $20 billion bond portfolio from D. E. Shaw after taking a $372 million third-quarter loss on a loan to the New York firm.

Firstar Corp. rose $1.9375, to $93.25, as managers of funds that mirror the S&P 500 bought the bank holding company ahead of its inclusion in the index Monday.

Pub Date: 1/01/99

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