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Stocks Rise Despite Jump in Oil Prices

The market also ignores higher Treasury bond yields. Major indexes are at their highest since the end of January.

February 11, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The stock market overcame rising oil prices and higher bond yields to post gains Tuesday, continuing to recover from the recent sell-off.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 34.82 points, or 0.3%, to 10,613.85, its highest closing level since the recent peak of 10,702.51 on Jan. 26.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 5.73 points, or 0.5%, to 1,145.54, also the highest since Jan. 26.

The Nasdaq composite index rallied 14.76 points, or 0.7%, to 2,075.33, its highest since Jan. 28.

Rising stocks outnumbered losers by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange and by more than 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.

Stocks have been inching back in recent sessions after sliding in late January and early February. Some investors had hoped for a sharp pullback to make share prices more inviting, but the recent slump quickly ran its course.

For example, Standard & Poor's index of 600 smaller stocks sank 5.3% from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4. With Tuesday's gain of 3.95 points, or 1.4%, to 284.84, the index has recouped nearly all of its losses and is just below the record closing high of 286.66 set on Jan. 26.

"I think the past few weeks have shown resilience in the market," said Russ Koesterich, U.S. equity strategist for State Street Corp.

The market seemed unfazed Tuesday by a jump in crude oil prices after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' surprise decision to cut production.

Stocks also largely ignored an uptick in Treasury bond yields.

Some analysts said investors were betting on encouraging words about the economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who testifies before Congress today and Thursday.

Greenspan is "going to lay out some risks, but I think the overall tone will be optimism that the economy has started to turn and continues to turn," Patrick Becker Jr., who helps manage $2.2 billion for Becker Capital Management in Portland, Ore., told Bloomberg News.

In other trading, the euro was little changed against the U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar and British pound continued to post gains against the U.S. currency. The Australian dollar hit a six-year high and the British pound reached an 11-year high -- bad news for American tourists headed to either nation.

Interest rates in Britain and Australia are substantially above U.S. rates, making fixed-income investments in those countries more appealing than U.S. alternatives for many global investors.

Among Tuesday's market highlights:

* Energy stocks rose with crude oil prices. Amerada Hess gained $1.43 to $59.53, Todco jumped 83 cents to $14.83, Apache rose $1.21 to $39.60, and Burlington Resources was up $1.33 to $55.83.

* The Dow was helped by 3M, up $1.86 to $81.25; United Technologies, up 73 cents to $95.60; and Altria, up 75 cents to $55.18.

* In the tech sector, Broadcom rose $1.54 to $40.35, Juniper Networks rose $1.18 to $27.36, and Ansys gained $1.30 to $42.06.

But slid $2.14 to $17.30 after projecting lower-than-expected 2004 profit.

* Biotech shares were mostly higher. Amgen added 75 cents to $64.97, Cephalon jumped $1.26 to $54.38, and Idexx Labs was up $1.06 to $52.16.

* Manufactured-housing stocks rallied after mortgage giant Fannie Mae said it would expand its loan program for buyers of those homes. Fleetwood Enterprises soared $1.92 to $14.52, Champion Enterprises jumped $2.17 to $9.06, and Cavalier Homes rose 71 cents to $4.55.

* Utility stocks attracted buyers. American Electric Power added 45 cents to $33.39, Edison International was up 39 cents to $21.92, and Dominion Resources rose 50 cents to $63.70.

Market Roundup, C8-9

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