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MARKET SAVVY

Stocks Mixed; Yields Decline on Latin Fears

July 13, 1999| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Dow Jones industrials edged to another record high Monday, but most stocks eased ahead of the impending flood of quarterly profit reports.

In the Treasury bond market, yields sank amid a new "flight to quality" in the wake of Latin American stock markets' sharp slide.

On Wall Street, the Dow added 7.28 points to 11,200.98, turning positive with just minutes left in the session.

It was the third closing record in four sessions for the Dow, which has now gained more than 2,000 points, or 22%, in 1999.

But most broad-market indexes posted small losses on the day. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2.63 points to 2,790.44 after flirting with a second straight record high.

Losers topped winners by 16 to 14 on the New York Stock Exchange, while winners had a modest edge on Nasdaq.

With the flow of earnings reports on the just-ended second quarter beginning in earnest today, traders were hesitant to make any big bets Monday. Most stocks traded in a narrow range as investors waited to see whether profit reports will justify the market's record-setting climb.

"Clearly, [it is] a market without conviction and one that is inclined just to wait and see as we get through these second-quarter earnings reports," said Richard E. Cripps, chief market strategist for Legg Mason of Baltimore.

But, he noted, with most economic indicators pointing to continued growth, "market sentiment is still bullish."

The bond market could help stocks if yields continue to slide. On Monday the yield on the bellwether 30-year Treasury bond ended at 5.9%, down from 6% on Friday and the lowest since May 31.

The 2-year T-note yield fell to 5.51% from 5.58%.

With Argentina's stock market diving 8.7% Monday on political concerns, "You're seeing some flow out of [Latin American] markets into Treasuries," said Dave Jallits of Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Fixed-Income.

Bonds got an additional lift in the wake of Ford Motor's record-setting $8.6-billion debt sale Friday, a sign that other corporate sales may find ready buyers.

Among Monday's highlights:

* Bank stocks were weak amid concern that higher interest rates so far this year might hurt the companies' earnings. Wells Fargo fell $1.50 to $43.69, Bank One lost $1.06 to $58.69 and BankBoston dropped $1.19 to $49.81.

* Major tech shares were mixed. Sun Microsystems jumped $2.25 to a record $75.19 and Adobe Systems gained $1.69 to $87.88, but Intel eased 81 cents to $65.44 ahead of its earnings report, expected today.

Many Internet shares suffered steep declines as profit-takers moved in. The stocks have been surging in recent weeks. Yahoo fell $9.75 to $150.25, EBay slid $7.88 to $127.88 and America Online dropped $5.94 to $122.31.

Traders said Disney's deal for Infoseek may have disappointed some investors.

* General Motors rallied late in the session to lead the Dow higher, rising $2.56 to $68.69 despite last Friday's large California jury verdict against the firm in a car-explosion case. Analysts expect the $4.9-billion verdict to be reduced over overturned

* Lucent Technologies rose $1.63 to $73.56 after an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney said the No. 1 phone equipment maker has "above-average growth potential relative to its peers."

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.9% to 18,274 as the rally there continued.

But other key Asian markets were lower. And early today the Taiwan market dove 3.1% on renewed China-Taiwan tensions.

Market Roundup, C12

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