- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Wall Street's cheaper prices lured buyers yesterday, sending the Dow Jones industrials up by triple digits for the second straight session. But the gains came on light volume, indicating that many investors sat out the rally, still nervous about the economy and corporate bookkeeping.
"[Prices] aren't jumping out at you, but they are looking more attractive, and that has incited some buying," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at First Albany Corp.
The Dow closed up 140.54, or 1.4 percent, at 9,884.78, having risen 118.80 Friday. Analysts said the relatively low trading volume skewed some price changes, making the advance appear more solid than it was.
New York Stock Exchange consolidated volume totaled 1.43 billion shares, below Friday's moderate 1.7 billion.
The broader market also closed higher. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 27.78, or 1.5 percent, to 1,846.66, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 15.72, or 1.4 percent, to 1,111.94.
The buying built on a rally from Friday, when bargain hunters snatched up cheaper stocks after a five-session sell-off. Because buying has been based on price rather than confidence in the economy and corporate earnings, analysts don't expect gains to hold.
"You've had an ugly two weeks, and so now you get a bounce. But there is no volume in this move up, meaning there's no conviction. If the market wanted to turn downward on a dime, it could," said Gary Kaltbaum, market technician for Investors' Edge Partners in Orlando, Fla.
Stocks have declined for much of this year, bringing the Nasdaq down 5.3 percent, the S&P; down 3.1 percent and the Dow down 1.4 percent. Behind the selling has been companies' tepid fourth-quarter earnings and their murky outlooks for future business. Enron's collapse, precipitated by irregular accounting, also has fed the downturn as investors are increasingly skeptical about how other companies keep their books.
"It is definitely because of the ongoing, nagging worry of whether the books are getting cooked, whether we are looking at real numbers," Mr. Johnson said.
Dow industrial DuPont rose $1.84 to $44.56 after announcing it will restructure its business, possibly spinning off a textiles and interiors unit.
United Technologies, also a Dow stock, advanced $1.02 to $69.10 after affirming its 2002 earnings outlook. And Federal Express climbed $1.73 to $55.13 after saying it expects to meet or beat estimates for the current quarter.
Wireless provider Qualcomm surged $3.82 to $41.28, recovering from losses Friday when a research firm questioned its accounting.
National Semiconductor gained 87 cents to $27.15 after Credit Suisse First Boston raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold."
Four Dow industrials traded lower. Among them, Procter & Gamble fell 38 cents to $81.71, and American Express declined 33 cents to $33.52.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners slightly more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE. The Russell 2000 index, which measures the performance of smaller-company stocks, rose 4.65, or 1 percent, to 471.32.
Overseas, France's CAC-40 closed up 1.3 percent, Britain's FT-SE 100 advanced 0.7 percent, and Germany's DAX index climbed 2.2 percent.


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