- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Caution asserted itself on Wall Street yesterday as investors collected their wins from last week's advance but shied away from new commitments in advance of a Federal Reserve meeting.

Analysts said buyers, still unsure about the prognosis for earnings improvement, wanted to hear what the central bank would say today about the economy, and in turn, interest rates, before making any big moves. Volume was light in lackluster trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 29.48, or 0.3 percent, at 10,577.75.

Broader stock indicators were mixed. The technology-centered Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.76, or 0.5 percent, to 1,877.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 0.61, or 0.1 percent, to 1,165.55.

This week's Fed meeting is expected to provide some clue as to when interest rates will start climbing. The Fed, which cut rates 11 times last year to stimulate growth, is expected to begin boosting rates later this year as signs increase that business is rebounding. Higher rates make it more expensive to borrow money, so raising them is one way to ensure that growth doesn't get out of hand and expose the economy to inflation.

In trading yesterday, Hewlett-Packard advanced 20 cents to $19.25 in advance of a shareholder vote Tuesday on its plan to merge with Compaq. Qwest Communications International rose 33 cents to $9.01 on news it repaid $608 million of its $4 billion unsecured bank credit.

But Microsoft dropped 35 cents to $62.14 after nine states told a judge the software company should be forced to release the blueprints for its Internet browser to give competitors a fair chance. They made that contention at the start of a court proceeding that will determine whether Microsoft should face penalties in addition to its antitrust settlement with the federal government.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide