Nasdaq has one of its best days ever as bargain hunters push stocks higher

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Stocks rebounded today from a selloff the day before as bargain-hunting investors helped push the Nasdaq composite index up more than 240 points today, one of its best one-day performances ever.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 157.60 at 10,192.18, according to preliminary calculations, a marked contrast to its 379-point plunge the previous day — its fifth-worst day ever in terms of point declines.

Broader stock indicators were also higher. The Standard &amp Poor’s 500 index finished up 44.39 to 1,374.17.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite index surged 242.09 points, or 7.87 percent, to 3,316.77. It was the Nasdaq’s third-highest one-day point gain and second highest one-day percentage gain and came a day after the Nasdaq closed at its low point for 2000.

"Following the fifth-worst drop ever and amid exploding Mideast tensions, the market appears oversold to some. The U.S. economy is still strong, consumer confidence remains high and productivity growth remains in gear," said Alan Ackerman, senior vice president at Fahnestock.

In addition, the technology sector got a boost today from PMC-Sierra, Juniper Networks and Gateway, all of which beat analysts’ expectations.

PMC Sierra rose $32, or 20.2 percent, to $190.44, and Juniper Networks surged $28.89, or 14.5 percent, to $228.50 in Nasdaq trading. Gateway rose $9.48 to $53.11 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

On Thursday, stocks plunged over worries about the escalating violence in the Mideast and after retailing giant Home Depot became the latest well-known company to warn that earnings wouldn’t meet expectations.

But during today’s session, stock prices rose despite new economic data that could re-ignite inflation worries.

Wholesale prices shot up 0.9 percent in September, the sharpest increase in seven months, led by big jumps in the costs of gasoline and heating oil, according to the Labor Department. Car prices posted their biggest increase in five years and food costs rose the first time in five months.

Wholesale prices had fallen in August, however, a factor that offset concern for the September figures.

Today’s move higher was attributed by analysts to investors seeking to purchase stocks at bargain prices following the Thursday’s performance.

Most investors believe earnings warnings will continue to plague the markets, according to Ackerman. "But on a highly selective basis, this may be a good time to do some bargain hunting," he said.

Widely held technology stocks, which were hurt Thursday based on long-running concerns for profit growth in the wake of a string of earnings warnings and disappointing third quarter results, moved higher today.

Compaq Computer closed up $2.66 to $25.20, and electronics company Nokia gained $3.69 to $33.13 on the NYSE.

Bellwether Nasdaq stocks also rose. Intel was up $3.25 to $40.38, and Cisco Systems rose $6.25 to $56.06.

Advancing issues slightly outnumbered decliners on the NYSE, where volume came to 1.22 billion shares, down slightly from Thursday’s pace.

The Russell 2000 index rose 13.85 to 476.82.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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