- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology stocks boosted by Texas Instruments’ solid earnings report led Wall Street moderately higher yesterday, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged behind, held back by disappointing news from AT&T.;

Analysts said earnings reports didn’t give the market a more significant advance because, while third-quarter profits generally have been strong, investors already have pushed stocks higher in anticipation of robust results. Earnings are reflected in many companies’ share prices, said Jack Caffrey, equities strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“Unless they’re going to tell a very compelling story or show dramatic improvements, investors are more inclined to take some of these profits,” Mr. Caffrey said. “I think we’re going to be seeing some very choppy trading over the next several weeks.”

The Dow fell 30.30, or 0.3 percent, to 9,747.64.

The broader market indexes closed higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.76, or 0.8 percent, at 1,940.90. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 1.35, or 0.1 percent, at 1,046.03.

The rise in the tech-dominated Nasdaq was attributed to strong performances and positive forecasts of semiconductor and biotech companies. With tech firms offering the brightest fourth-quarter outlooks, investors were buying selectively in hopes of finding bargains, said Richard E. Cripps, chief market strategist for Legg Mason in Baltimore.

“The thinking is that we are reaching a little bit here, but we’re still faced with the idea that there’s no better place to put your money,” Mr. Cripps said. “It’s also the psychology of the moment. … Nobody wants to miss it.”

Texas Instruments’ third-quarter profits more than doubled on rising sales in the semiconductor market, beating analysts’ forecasts by 2 cents a share. The chipmaker rose $1.61, or 6.3 percent, to close at $27.28.

AT&T; Corp. dropped $1.07, or 5.1 percent, to $20.00 after the company released disappointing news with its third-quarter results. While profits nearly doubled compared with a weak showing a year ago, revenues fell 8.1 percent as Bell rivals and cell phones gained a growing share of the long-distance market.

Officials also revealed that AT&T; employees overstated profits by $125 million in 2001 and 2002 to cover up an accounting mistake.

Eastman Kodak Co. was up 52 cents, or 2.3 percent, at $23.64, after a group of shareholders said they would ask the company to reconsider a plan to sharply reduce its dividend as it makes aggressive strides into the digital-camera market, stepping back from its traditional film business. Kodak was among dozens of companies set to report earnings today.

After the close, Amazon.com Inc. posted third-quarter profits that beat analysts’ estimates by a penny. The online retailer, which fell 24 cents to $59.35 in the regular session, fell $1.05 in after-hours trading to $58.30.

Amgen Inc. also announced earnings after the close. The biotech company reversed a third-quarter loss largely on strong sales of its anemia-fighting drugs, beating analysts’ expectations by 2 cents a share. Amgen, which rose $1.76 in regular trading to close at $63.65, dipped 6 cents in extended dealings.

Boston Scientific Corp., which advanced 24 cents to close at $63.84 in regular trading, was unchanged in extended hours after announcing that its earnings beat analysts’ forecasts by 3 cents a share.

Companies scheduled to release results today included DuPont Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and McDonald’s Corp. Reports also were expected from major drug companies, including Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners about 5-to-4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was moderate, with 1.44 billion shares traded, compared with 1.18 billion Monday.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller-company stocks, was up 5.17, or 1 percent, at 525.53.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average finished 1.2 percent lower yesterday. In Europe, France’s CAC-40 advanced 0.1 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent and Germany’s DAX index was up 0.6 percent.

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