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Dow Takes Dip as Tech Stocks Show Strength

March 18, 2000|From Times Wire Services

Stocks were mixed Friday as investors bought technology names and dumped industrials. Bonds rallied, sending the benchmark yield to 6%, as traders looked to Tuesday's Fed meeting with few jitters.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 80.74 points, or 1.7%, to 4,798.13; the Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.37 points, or 0.3%, to 10,595.23; and the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.4%, to 1464.47.

Even with the setback, the Dow wrapped up its best week in more than 15 years.

The government bond rally knocked the 30-year Treasury yield to 6% for the first time in almost six months, as reports this week showed inflation stayed benign outside of energy costs. The long bond eased from 6.04% the day before, falling to its lowest level since Sept. 24. The benchmark yield eased 17 basis points during the week, from 6.17%.

Wall Street's biggest bond firms predict the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by a quarter-point for a fifth time since June when officials meet next week, and at least once more during the first half of the year.

In the equity markets, the Dow ended the week with a gain of 666.41 points, its biggest weekly run-up ever in point terms, despite Friday's setback. Its 6.7% surge was the biggest since the 7.9% jump in the week ended Aug. 3, 1984.

With stock index futures and stock and index options expiring Friday and today, Friday's session marked the first so-called triple witching of 2000. Such events can lead to large orders to buy and sell, making prices bounce erratically.

Among Friday's highlights:

* Microsoft rose $4 to $99.38 and Intel climbed $4.81 to $129.88 to lead Nasdaq higher. Other key gainers included Veritas Software, which jumped $12.63 to $164.38, and Qualcomm, which rallied $3.38 to $136.25.

* Several of the industrial stocks that boosted the Dow on Wednesday and Thursday led it lower. Alcoa sank $4.25 to $64.69, General Motors lost $3.63 to $80.13 and Honeywell International slid $2.88 to $46.88.

The Dow's tech components fared better, with Hewlett-Packard gaining $6 to $138 and IBM rising $1 to $110.

* Applied Materials rose $7.92 to $95.86 after analysts at Credit Suisse First Boston said the biggest maker of semiconductor-production equipment probably will receive more new orders this quarter than management forecast.

* Micron Technology, the biggest U.S. maker of memory chips, soared $15.50 to $128.88 after an analyst at Merrill Lynch reiterated a near-term "buy" rating.

* Saf T Lok gained $1.28 to $3.34 and Saf-T-Hammer added 56 cents to $2.09 after Smith & Wesson, the nation's largest gun maker, said it will put safety locks on all its firearms.

* SBS Technologies plunged $15.50 to $25 as the maker of computer components said it expects earnings for the quarter ending March 31 to be lower than analysts' forecast.

* Universal Access (ticker symbol: UAXS), which sells network and database services to Internet service providers and telecommunications companies, spurted $23 to $37 in its first day of trading.

Market Roundup, C4

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