Stocks end mixed on investors’ concerns about earnings, slowing economy


Associated Press

NEW YORK — Investors, although tired of selling and eager for a rally, struggled in vain to find a direction today and sent stocks wavering throughout a choppy session.

Uneasiness about falling profits, the country’s economic slowdown and more analyst downgrades of high-profile stocks made it impossible for any substantial gains to stick. By the end of the day, investors had taken to their recent approach of bidding blue chips moderately higher and selling technology issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average at times soared above 100 points, but it retreated to close up only 31.85 at 10,494.50.

Broader indicators were mixed. The Nasdaq composite index ended off 4.19 at 2,871.45 after bobbing in and out of positive territory. It was the Nasdaq’s lowest close since Oct. 27, 1999, when it finished at 2,802.52.

The Standard &amp Poor’s 500 index rose 4.73 to 1,347.35.

Investors were still waiting for Wall Street’s typical post-election rally and they seemed to want to bid stocks higher. However, they had trouble overcoming growing disappointments about earnings and worries that the economy is slowing at an uncomfortably fast pace, analysts said.

"They’re trying to bounce a little bit," said Jim Myers, director of technical research for Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. "But the economy is softening faster than most people suspected."

Investors were somewhat inspired by good earnings results reported by tech firms Agilent and Medtronic. Agilent, the company spun off by Hewlett-Packard, gained $3.69, ending at $48.25. Medtronic, a medical technology firm, rose $2.06 to $51.12.

But the market still has some unrealistic earnings expectations, and that means the sharp selloffs seen in recent sessions will continue when companies come out with disappointing results, analysts said.

"We are still going to have to come to grips with earnings expectations that are too high," Myers said.

But investors are right to focus on earnings, some analysts said.

"Prior to this year, you could buy just about any stock and it would go higher," said Chris Dickerson, market analyst for Global Market Strategists in Gainesville, Ga. "Now you have to be a lot more careful and pay attention to the fundamentals of the stock."

Investors punished Lucent Technologies, pushing it down $3.38 to close at $17.56, after it announced its fourth-quarter revenue is $125 million less than it first reported.

Yahoo! slid $7.19, or nearly 15 percent, finishing at $41.69 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s Mary Meeker, the well-known Internet stock analyst, said it has a 30 percent chance of missing revenue estimates for the current quarter.

Investment firms that have been lowering their ratings of high-tech stocks were re-examining other sectors. Media companies fell after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter downgraded their stocks. Disney lost 50 cents to close at $29.37, and News Corp. fell 75 cents to $35.38.

The recent selloff in tech stocks prompted some bargain hunting. Network equipment maker Cisco Systems, which had fallen sharply over the past week, rose $2.44 to $53.69.

Drug stocks maintained their recent strength. Merck rose $1.87 to $91.96.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller companies, fell 3.45 to 466.79.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 12 to 11 on the New York Stock Exchange where volume was 1.37 billion shares, well ahead of Monday’s 1.14 billion.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.8 percent. But Germany’s DAX index was up 1.0 percent, Britain’s FT-SE 100 gained 0.6 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 1.0 percent.

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

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyko Matsumoto-Wright on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
With light rail coming soon, Mountlake Terrace’s moment is nearly here

The anticipated arrival of the northern Link expansion is another sign of a rapidly changing city.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

Photographs in the 2024 Annual Black and White Photography Contest on display at the Schack Art Center on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Black and white photos aren’t old school for teens at Schack Art Center

The photography contest, in its 29th year, had over 170 entries. See it at the Schack in Everett through May 5.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mountain Loop Highway partially reopens Friday

Closed since December, part of the route to some of the region’s best hikes remains closed due to construction.

Emma Dilemma, a makeup artist and bikini barista for the last year and a half, serves a drink to a customer while dressed as Lily Munster Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at XO Espresso on 41st Street in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After long legal battle, Everett rewrites bikini barista dress code

Employees now have to follow the same lewd conduct laws as everyone else, after a judge ruled the old dress code unconstitutional.

The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Clouds to dampen Lyrid meteor shower views in Western Washington

Forecasters expect a storm will obstruct peak viewing Sunday. Locals’ best chance at viewing could be on the coast. Or east.

AquaSox's Travis Kuhn and Emerald's Ryan Jensen an hour after the game between the two teams on Sunday continue standing in salute to the National Anthem at Funko Field on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New AquaSox stadium downtown could cost up to $120M

That’s $40 million more than an earlier estimate. Alternatively, remodeling Funko Field could cost nearly $70 million.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.