- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street regained its composure yesterday, marching higher after companies including Merrill Lynch & Co. and International Business Machines Corp. beat earnings expectations.

The Nasdaq Composite Index hit a high for the year as the market anticipated after-the-close earnings reports from Yahoo Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. But it was the earnings reports from IBM and Merrill that reassured investors yesterday after disappointing earnings from Citigroup Inc. on Monday halted three weeks of stock market gains.

Brokerage Merrill’s earnings, released before trading opened, beat analysts’ estimates by 6 cents a share. IBM’s results, released after the close of regular trading Monday, also beat expectations and marked the company’s return to strength after a dismal first quarter. IBM’s stock soared, rising $1.92 to $83.73. Merrill rose $1.32 to $57.99.

“IBM’s earnings helped get the market started this morning,” said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist, Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn.

Stocks maintained their momentum on the expectation of strong earnings reports by Intel Corp., Amgen Inc. and Motorola Inc., which reported after the close of regular trading.

The tech-dominated Nasdaq rose 28.31, or 1.32 percent, to 2,173.18, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 71.57, or 0.68 percent, to 10,646.56. The Dow fell 65.84 Monday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8.22, or 0.67 percent, to 1,229.35.

Despite the day’s gains, the market is about even with where it was last week, said Peter Martin, senior technical analyst, Prudential Equity Group. “In the very short term, it’s a just a tired market.”

Bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.19 percent from 4.22 percent late Monday. The U.S. dollar was up against other major currencies in European trading. Gold prices were unchanged.

Crude oil futures rose. A barrel of light, sweet crude settled at $57.46, up 14 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In the closely watched housing market, Commerce Department data showed construction of new homes and apartments was flat in June, providing an indication that the red-hot housing market may be cooling off. June’s performance was far below the 1.1 percent increase private economists had been expecting.

In earnings news, biotechnology firm Amgen’s profits rose sharply, beating analysts’ expectations by 16 cents a share. Amgen closed up 2 cents, at $70.52, in regular trading, then rose $2.76 to $73.28 in extended hours after its earnings report.

Chip maker Intel beat analysts’ expectations by a penny a share and set third-quarter estimates in line with analysts’ expectations. Intel closed regular trading up 48 cents to $28.71.

Mobile-phone maker Motorola reported record second-quarter sales and earnings. Motorola gained 39 cents, to $19.85 in regular trading.

1 cent to hit $19.86 in extended trading.

Banker Wachovia Corp. fell $1.27 to $49.73 after missing analysts’ estimates by a penny and reporting its assets were relatively flat with the end of December.

Beleaguered automaker Ford Motor Co. beat analysts’ estimates, even as its earnings fell 19 percent from the year-ago quarter. It affirmed its guidance for the full year. Ford fell 9 cents to $10.84.

Wells Fargo & Co., the fifth-largest U.S. bank, fell 16 cents to $61.83 after reporting its second-quarter earnings rose 11 percent from last year, driven by strong loan and deposit growth. The results were a penny shy of Wall Street expectations and its home mortgage business dropped $559 million in revenue.

Computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. said it will cut 14,500 jobs, about 10 percent of its full-time staff, as part of a plan designed to save $1.9 billion annually. The job cuts, which will occur over the next six quarters, will mostly come in support functions. HP fell 40 cents to $24.52.

International Paper Co., the world’s largest forest-products company, rose $1.56 to $32.22 after announcing a restructuring plan that includes the potential spinoff or sale of at least three of its businesses.

Advancers led decliners by more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange where preliminary consolidated volume came to 2.05 billion shares, up sharply from 1.59 billion Monday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 10.30, or 1.56 percent, to 668.86.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.05 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.24 percent, Germany’s DAX index was up 1.08 percent, and France’s CAC-40 was up 1.39 percent.

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