- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) — Shares closed mixed Friday on renewed hopes for a resolution on the Iraqi conflict. Solid gains in the European and Asian markets added to the upward momentum.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 37.96 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 7,859.71, while Nasdaq stock market closed slightly lower, losing 0.44 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,340.33.

The broader New York Stock Exchange composite index gained 16.42 points to close at 4,641.63, while the Standard & Poor's 500 added 1.36 to close at 833.26. The American Stock Exchange composite index, however, dropped 3.44 points at 815.07, while the Wilshire 5000 Index added 9.92 points to close at 7,896.40.

Volume was 1.76 billion on the Big Board and 1.5 billion on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

President George W. Bush will join British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in Portugal's Azores on Sunday to discuss how to win United Nations approval for a new resolution on Iraq, the White House announced Friday.

The on-again, off-again summit, first considered by the Bush administration Thursday, was authorized late Thursday evening. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer ruled out that it is a war council, but instead a chance to discuss the diplomatic issues at the U.N. Security Council. Fleischer said Bush is joining the summit because it is important to U.S. allies and to the president.

Shares also got support from news that industrial output in the United States increased by 0.1 percent in February.

But the Federal Reserve Bank reported that production in factories dipped 0.1 percent, largely as a result of the 2.4 percent decline in car manufacturing. Still, the car industry's decline was offset by a 2.2 percent production increase in the high-technology sector. Manufacturing makes up more than four-fifths of total industrial output.

Output in the energy sector was buoyant, with utilities output gaining 1.3 percent and mining output rose by 1.0 percent.

Meanwhile, capacity utilization remained unchanged at 75.6 percent, was unchanged from January and remained 5.7 percentage points below its 1972-2002 average.

U.S. Treasury prices were up. The 10-year bond added 12/32 to 101 14/32. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, declined to 3.70 percent from 3.75 percent late Thursday.

Shares rose in London, Frankfurt and Paris. The London International Stock Exchange's blue-chip FTSE-100 index was up 89.90 points, or 2.58 percent, at 3,576.80, while the German DAX index was up 113.29 points, or 4.81 percent, at 2,467.60, and the French CAC-40 index was up 113.29 points, or 4.81 percent, at 2,467.60.

Taking their lead from the performance of Wall Street overnight, Asian stock markets Friday ended the week on a positive note.

Japan's Nikkei average rose 1.7 percent to 8,002.69, led by buying in Kyocera Corp., the world's largest maker of ceramic packages for semiconductors, which rose 6.03 percent. In Taiwan, the main TAIEX index closed up 2.22 percent at 4,476.17.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed up 1.1 percent at 537.65 points, ending an eight-day losing streak.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.92 percent to 8,956.17. HSBC Holdings added 2.15 percent. In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 1.6 percent to 1,250.88.

The benchmark Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index added 1.35 percent to 358.24 points. In Kuala Lumpur, the main index rose 0.2 percent on bargain hunting.

The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 0.4 percent at 1,003.99, the Jakarta Composite Index rose 1.05 percent to 387.88 points in thin trading.


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