- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Wall Street's momentum extended into a new week yesterday its optimism from a month of gains boosted by approval of Microsoft's antitrust settlement.
"People are certainly in a buying mood," said Brian Belski, fundamental market strategist for US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.
The market built on four straight weeks of advances that followed better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and hopes that the economy indeed was strengthening. The stock indexes hadn't had a four-week winning stretch since the period that ended Aug. 23.
"It's a combination of the fact that the market has been rallying, and that October was a good month," said Barry Berman, head trader for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. "The market is just more optimistic than it had been."
Technology enjoyed the biggest gains yesterday with the Nasdaq Composite Index jumping 35.84, or 2.6 percent, to 1,396.54.
The market's other gauges were also sharply higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.96, or 0.6 percent, to 8,571.60, receiving most of its boost from Microsoft. The Dow pulled back from an earlier 213-point surge as some profit takers arrived.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 7.39, or 0.8 percent, to 908.35.
Today's congressional elections were on the minds of investors. Many of them are hopeful that the Republican Party, which favors corporate and individual tax cuts, will take over leadership of the Senate and keep its control of the House.
But analysts weren't sure that those hopes, already a factor in the recent advance, contributed to yesterday's gains. If anything, the market could pull back if the Republican Party fails to sweep the elections or simply maintains control of the House.
Analysts also credited the buying spree in part to investors' hopes that the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates at its meeting tomorrow. But other analysts said that what investors really want to hear is that the economy is turning around and perhaps doesn't need more rate cuts.
Whatever the reason for the recent advances, analysts are encouraged to see the market progressing despite negative economic news.

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