- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Buyers cautiously returned to Wall Street yesterday, sending stocks higher on bargain-hunting after three days of big losses. But the market's three main indexes still posted a fourth straight weekly loss.
Analysts said investors were ambivalent about the strength of the economic recovery and third-quarter profits. After disappointing earnings announcements this week from Electronic Data Systems and J.P. Morgan Chase, the market got a boost on a positive outlook from Qualcomm.
"I think what we're seeing is a tug of war between one camp looking for the economy and corporate earnings to fall significantly further from where we are, and the other camp looking for the economy to expand, albeit on a modest path," said Kevin Caron, market strategist at Ryan, Beck & Co.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.63, or 0.6 percent, to close at 7,986.02. On Thursday, blue chips dropped 230 points to close below 8,000 for the first time since July 23.
The broader market also finished higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4.64, or 0.4 percent, to 1,221.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up 2.07, or 0.3 percent, to 845.39.
The three major market gauges all finished the week lower for a fourth straight week, a distinction not seen since the weeks May 31 to June 21. For the week, the Dow lost 3.9 percent, the Nasdaq declined 5.5 percent, and the S&P; fell 5 percent.
Trading was brisk because yesterday was what is called a triple-witching session, the quarterly expiration of index futures and index and stock options. But there was little of the price volatility that often accompanies triple-witching days.
Analysts say investors remain focused on the economy and have increasingly lost confidence in the past month due to mixed economic reports, a possible war with Iraq and disappointing earnings news.
Since hitting a peak on Aug. 22, the Dow has lost more than 1,000 points, about 400 of which came in the three sessions before yesterday.
"The bottom line seems to be that U.S. stocks are stuck in a trading range and that we still don't know when the economy and corporate profits will truly start to recover in a sustainable way," said Stuart A. Schweitzer, global investment strategist for J.P. Morgan Fleming Asset Management.
Gainers included Qualcomm, which climbed $2.36 to $28.08, after the telecommunications software maker said it expected first-quarter shipments of phone chips to be significantly higher than 20 million.
Alcatel rose 16 cents to $2.61 after the telecommunications equipment maker said it would cut another 10,000 employees by the end of 2003 and warned sales would fall by 36 percent this year.
Losers included Duke Energy, which fell $1.02 to $20.40, after lowering its 2002 earnings estimates below analysts' expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 7 to 6 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was heavy at 1.77 billion shares, compared with 1.49 billion traded on Thursday.
The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller company stocks, rose 1.74, or 0.5 percent, to 367.28.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average finished lower 2 percent. In Europe, France's CAC-40 fell 1.2 percent, Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 1.2 percent, and Germany's DAX index was up 1.9 percent.

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