- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended an erratic session mixed yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a third straight record close despite concerns about corporate profits and the impact of falling oil prices.

The market struggled to digest a drop in oil prices, which fell to a 19-month low near $51 a barrel on a report that Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries leader Saudi Arabia said there may be no need for further production cuts. The statement punished shares of major oil and gasoline companies, though lower energy prices are a boon to consumers.

Investors also tried to reconcile conflicting views about the pace of corporate earnings. The first wave of reports have already shown strength, with Intel Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. posting robust results.

But the market was still uneasy after profit warnings from companies including home builder Centex Corp. and software maker Symantec Corp.

The Dow rose 26.51, or 0.21 percent, to 12,582.59. The index reached a new trading high of 12,585.08 earlier in the session.

Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 1.17, or 0.08 percent, at 1,431.90, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 5.04, or 0.20 percent, to 2,497.78.

The bond market drew some support from a New York Federal Reserve report that the pace of manufacturing in its region reached its lowest level since the summer of 2005. Bond prices had declined in recent sessions on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve won’t cut rates because of signs of economic strength, but they rose yesterday.

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