Bonds Fizzle, Stocks Mixed as Dollar Falls

From Times Staff and Wire Services

Stocks closed mixed Friday as Thursday's bond rally ran out of steam and as the dollar sank again.

Smaller stocks were hampered by computer problems within the Nasdaq trading system.

At the close, the Dow Jones industrials were up 14.56 points to 3,753.81, but blue chips were buffeted by the expiration of some key stock options contracts.

Other market indexes closed slightly higher or with minor losses. The NYSE composite index inched up 0.50 point to 251.06.

The market's breadth was still positive: Winners topped losers by 12 to 9 on the NYSE and by 14 to 12 on Nasdaq.

Computer problems caused the Nasdaq market to delay opening until just before noon Eastern time, causing difficulties for traders.

The Nasdaq problems added to the normal volatility associated with options expirations. Both made it difficult for traders to discern whether the market's Thursday rally--which saw the Dow rise 34 points--was a fluke or the start of a significant rebound.

"I don't think the rally's over, but (Friday's action) makes you question whether it's going to be broad-based," said Ralph Acampora, analyst at Prudential Securities in New York.

Stocks weren't helped by bonds: Thursday's big rally in the bond market fizzled Friday afternoon, and yields closed unchanged or slightly higher--despite new evidence that the economy is slowing.

By day's end, the 30-year Treasury bond yield was at 7.54%, up from 7.53% on Thursday. Still, the yield was down sharply from 7.69% a week ago.

In currency markets, the dollar gave up some of Thursday's rebound. It closed at 97.85 Japanese yen in New York, down from 98.60 on Thursday. It also slipped to 1.553 German marks from 1.555.

The Dow industrials finished up 44.67 points for the week. The Nasdaq composite index of mostly smaller stocks, which eased 0.20 point to 721.36 on Friday, closed up 13.9 points for the week.

Among Friday's highlights:

* Thursday's rally on Wall Street helped spark renewed buying overseas. In Frankfurt, the DAX index surged 37.99 points to 2,093.61, while London's FTSE-100 index added 24.4 points to 3,074.80--which left that index up 112.4 points for the week.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei index added 52.11 points to 20,770.15 on Friday, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shot up 308.74 points to 9,117.02 as foreign money poured back in.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Bovespa index jumped 1.6% for the day, to 40,799. The index has leaped 13.9% since July 1. Mexico City's Bolsa index, however, slipped 1.55 points to 2,281.23.

* In U.S. trading, semiconductor stocks slumped, led by Texas Instruments, which sank 6 1/8 to 80 1/4 after reporting strong second quarter earnings but at the same time warning that it expects its growth rate to slow in the next six months.

Another computer chip maker, Altera, also predicted slower growth. Its shares dove 6 1/2 to 25 1/2.

Among other chip stocks, Intel lost 2 to 59 1/2, Motorola fell 1 3/8 to 48 7/8 and Micron Technology sank 1 7/8 to 36 1/4.

* In a bit of good news in the tech sector, Three-Five Systems, which makes liquid crystal display systems, rocketed 6 1/4 to 37 5/8 on its earnings report.

* Some industrial stocks continued to rebound despite a growing conviction that the economy is slowing. Alcoa rose 1 to 80 3/8, Deere added 1 to 71 1/2, Clark Equipment gained 1 1/8 to 65 1/2, DuPont was up 1 1/4 to 60 1/8 and Weyerhaueser jumped 1 3/8 to 42 3/8.

In commodities trading, cocoa prices jumped to four-year highs and coffee resumed its climb as commodity funds rushed in to take advantage of raging bull markets in those products.

September cocoa soared $124 to $1,522 per metric ton, the market's highest level since May, 1990.

Cocoa has been riding the shirttails of the booming coffee market, though some of he same weather problems afflicting coffee growers have affected cocoa as well.

Elsewhere, lumber prices surged on renewed rumors of troubles in labor talks between Canadian timber workers and mill owners.

September lumber futures gained the $10 daily limit to $373 per 1,000 board feet.

Market Roundup, D3

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