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Stocks end session mixed as crude prices advance

August 22, 2008|Tim Paradis | The Associated Press

Stocks finished mixed Thursday after investors largely shrugged off a jump in oil prices and a bullish analyst report limited losses on financial stocks.

Crude futures shot up $5.62 to $121.18 as commodities in general rallied, boosted in part by a decline in the dollar. The CRB commodity index climbed 3.7%.

Oil's advance sent airline stocks tumbling but pushed energy shares up.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12.78 points, or 0.1%, to 11,430.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.18 points, or 0.2%, to 1,277.72.

But the Nasdaq composite index fell 8.70 points, or 0.4%, to 2,380.38. The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies fell 6.35 points, or 0.9%, to 725.25.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light.

Government bond yields rose. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed to 3.82%, up from 3.8% late Wednesday.

Energy giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron were the biggest contributors to the Dow's advance. Without their gains, the blue-chip index would have closed in negative territory for the day. Exxon rose $1.54, or 2%, to $80.35, while Chevron rose $2.06, or 2.4%, to $88.52.

Mining stocks rallied along with the prices of precious metals. Barrick Gold rose $2.28, or 6.8%, to $35.99, Goldcorp jumped $2.45, or 7.6%, to $34.88 and Kinross Gold surged $1.48, or 9.4%, to $17.22.

But the rise in oil weighed on other sectors such as airlines. United Airlines' parent, UAL, sank $1.07, or 8.6%, to $11.33, while Continental Airlines dropped 82 cents, or 5.4%, to $14.34.

Financial stocks initially fell sharply after Citigroup late Wednesday lowered its third-quarter earnings estimates for Lehman Bros. Holdings, Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley, predicting the firms would write down their assets by $2.9 billion, $1.8 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively.

But the sector partially rebounded after Ladenburg Thalmann upgraded Lehman, calling it a takeover candidate.

Lehman ended off 1 cent at $13.72, while Goldman Sachs fell $1.83 to $156.42 and Morgan Stanley declined 34 cents to $37.06. An index of financial stocks in the S&P 500 dropped as much as 2.4% before closing down 1.1%.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended mixed after falling more than 20% on Wednesday on fresh worries about the possibility of a government takeover of the mortgage finance companies.

Fannie rose 45 cents, or 10%, to $4.85, while Freddie fell 9 cents, or 2.7%, to $3.16.

In other market highlights:

Barnes & Noble slumped $1.07, or 4.2%, to $24.67 after it posted a 15% drop in second-quarter profit and warned of weaker sales for the year.

Burger King Holdings tumbled $1.95, or 7.1%, to $25.50 after the No. 2 U.S. hamburger chain said higher costs were squeezing its profit margins.

West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster rose $1.45, or 6.7%, to $23.09 on its first day of trading after being spun off by IAC/InteractiveCorp along with two other IAC units. IAC climbed $1.27, or 8.3%, to $16.63.

Overseas, key stock indexes fell 0.8% in Japan, 1.3% in Germany and 1.4% in France. Shares fell slightly in Britain.

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