Sun, Mar 17, 2002 - Page 10 News List

Dow Jones average registers its fifth winning week


US stocks advanced, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a fifth weekly gain, after reports showed consumer confidence rose this month and industrial production climbed in February.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc and American Express Co helped lead the Dow to its longest weekly winning streak since Sept. 1, 2000, as investors anticipated the reviving economy will spark a rebound in corporate profit growth.

The Dow rose 90.09, or 0.9 percent, to 10,607.23. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 13.12, or 1.1 percent, to 1,166.16, with financial companies contributing almost one-third of the advance. The NASDAQ Composite Index climbed 14.16, or 0.8 percent, to 1,868.30.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.3 percent, extending its year-to-date gain to 5.8 percent. The S&P 500 advanced 0.2 percent for the week. The Nasdaq lost 3.2 percent, its first weekly loss in three.

Consumer confidence rose to a 15-month high, reflecting the strength of the rebound from recession, according to the Michigan report. The index gained for the fifth time in six months to the highest level since December 2000.

A government report showed industrial production rose 0.4 percent last month, the second increase in 17 months. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.2 percent rise.

Four stocks rose for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange while six advanced for every five that declined on the NASDAQ Stock Market. More than 1.4 billion shares traded on the NYSE, 8.3 percent above the three-month daily average.

Financial stocks advanced as investors bought shares that will benefit most from a resurgent economy.

American Express, the fourth-largest credit card issuer, rallied US$1.54 to US$42.15. Citigroup Inc, the biggest financial-services firm, rose US$0.88 to US$49.69; Merrill Lynch & Co, the biggest brokerage, gained US$0.85 to US$54.61; and Fannie Mae, the largest purchaser of mortgages, climbed US$1.40 to US$81.29.

Wal-Mart, the biggest US company by sales, rose US$1.48 to $63.75 and was the second-biggest contributor the S&P 500's gain.

Pfizer Inc rose US$1.42 to US$41.37, leading the S&P 500, while Pharmacia Corp climbed US$2.84 to US$45.25 after rival Merck & Co said it will withdraw an application to market a successor to its Vioxx painkiller for arthritis. Pharmacia and Pfizer sell Celebrex, a Vioxx competitor.

The S&P 500 trades for about 22 times forecast earnings, compared to 19 times after stocks tumbled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Oracle Corp declined US$0.84 to US$12.60. The software maker said profits in the quarter ending in May will be US$0.01 or US$0.02 below the year-earlier period's. Fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 13 percent and revenue dropped for a fourth straight quarter, missing forecasts.

Adobe Systems Inc gained US$2.59 to US$39.18. The software maker posted first-quarter profit that beat analysts' forecasts.

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