Saturday, November 24, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) Investors returned from the Thanksgiving holiday in a buying mood yesterday, sending blue-chip stocks to strong gains and reversing the profit-taking trend of recent sessions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended an abbreviated trading session up 125.03 to 9,959.71. For the week, the Dow climbed 92.72 points, or 0.9 percent.

Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 13.31 to 1,150.34, to end the week up 1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 28.15 to 1,903.20, to end the week up 0.2 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a nearly 3-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 512.75 million shares, down sharply from 1.28 billion Wednesday.

The rise in stock prices, despite the absence of news, shows some investors see buying opportunities after market backtracking earlier this week, analysts said.

“We did see some selling. We did see some money taken off the table. But there are bargain hunters that refuse to sit idly by as optimism appears to be increasing,” said Alan Ackerman, executive vice president at Fahnestock & Co. in New York.

Yesterday’s gains reversed the trend of earlier this week and landed in what is technically bull-market ground as it finished 20.9 percent above its Sept. 21 low of 8,236. A bull market is defined as a 20 percent or greater recovery from the low.

Still, many analysts and traders called the Dow’s move artificial, reasoning that most of the gains from the low point represent a rebound from the massive selloff that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks, rather than buying on proof that business is turning around.

Stock markets closed at 1 p.m. yesterday due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Gainers included Ericsson, whose chairman said this week he expects less competition in the market for third-generation wireless technology. The company’s stock rose 33 cents to $5.55.

Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer, rose 68 cents to $55.80 as consumers headed to stores on the day regarded as the official start to the Christmas- shopping season. Toys R Us shares also rose, up 95 cents to $23.05.

Enron, whose acquisition by Dynegy Inc. is now being questioned by investors, fell 30 cents to $4.71.

Overseas, markets were mixed. In Europe, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.2 percent, while Britain’s FT-SE 100 was off 1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.6 percent.

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