Sun, May 04, 2003 - Page 10 News List

NYSE stocks jump again

UNREALIZED FEARS Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq completed their longest winning streak since November of last year

BLOOMBERG , NEW YORK

Crude oil traders gesture while they conduct business on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

US stocks gained, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to its third straight weekly advance, after a government report showed the economy lost fewer jobs than expected in April even as the unemployment rate rose.

The report was "not as bad as people might have feared; the market's looking at the glass half-full rather than half-empty," said Peter Coolidge, a money manager for Deltec Asset Management LLC. "It sort of goes with the postwar trend of people coming back into stocks."

Computer-related shares including Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp lifted the Nasdaq Composite Index to a 10-month high amid analyst expectations that earnings will accelerate. Energy companies rose after ChevronTexaco Corp followed Exxon Mobil Corp in reporting a surge in profit because of higher oil and natural-gas prices.

The S&P 500 rose 13.78, or 1.5 percent, to 930.08, the highest level since Jan. 14. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 128.43, or 1.5 percent, to 8582.68. The Nasdaq climbed 30.32, or 2.1 percent, to 1502.88, its highest since June 18.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which also climbed for a third week, completed their longest weekly winning streaks since November, amid optimism that economic and profit growth will pick up following the end of the war with Iraq. The S&P 500 gained 3.5 percent, the Nasdaq jumped 4.8 percent and the Dow advanced 3.3 percent in the week.

More than three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, the broadest rally since Jan. 2. Five stocks gained for every two that dropped on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Some 1.5 billion shares traded on the Big Board, a 12 percent increase over the three-month daily average.

US businesses cut 48,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate rose to 6 percent, matching an eight-year high, the Labor Department said. Economists predicted a loss of 60,000 jobs and a jobless rate of 5.9 percent, according to a <

"The market was discounting the worst," said David Briggs, head of trading at Federated Investors Inc, which manages US$185 billion in Pittsburgh. "People seem to be willing to wait a little longer to see if things continue to improve."

Technology shares contributed the most to the S&P 500's gain.

Analysts predict profit at these companies will rise 33 percent this quarter and 67 percent next quarter, according to Thomson Financial. The third-quarter figure is the highest among the benchmark's 10 industry groups.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, rose US$0.42 to US$26.13. Intel, the No. 1 semiconductor maker, added US$0.50 to US$19.05.

Sun Microsystems Inc, a maker of server computers that run corporate networks, climbed US$0.41 to US$3.75, and was the most active stock. Speculation that Dell Computer Corp., International Business Machines Corp. or Hewlett-Packard Co. may acquire the company led to the gain, said Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderle. Sun shares have lost more than 90 percent of their value during the past three years.

Sun and IBM spokespeople declined to comment. Dell and Hewlett-Packard spokespeople didn't return calls.

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. jumped US$1.12 to US$10.60. The maker of chips used in Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 video-game machine said second-quarter sales will fall to US$200 million from US$202.1 million a year ago. Analysts were expecting a steeper drop, according to Thomson Financial.

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