Markets & Finance

Stocks End Mixed


Stocks ended mixed on Friday with the Dow lifted by news that the word's largest carmaker General Motors (GM) may be close to a key union agreement while the Nasdaq was hit by profit-taking in the semiconductor sector despite an improved second-quarter revenue forecast from chip giant Intel (INTC).

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 9.61 points, or 0.09%, to 10,512.63. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 2.62 points, or 0.23%, to 1,198.11. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 13.91 points, or 0.67%, to 2,063.

Looking ahead to next week, there will be lots of economic news to digest. On Tuesday, May retail sales are expected to show a decrease of 0.5% vs. a 1.4% jump in April. Excluding auto sales, the figure is expected to dip 0.1% vs. a 1.1% increase in the previous month. Also on Tuesday, the producer price index, (PPI), a gauge of wholesale level inflation, is see falling 0.2% vs. a 0.6% rise in April. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the PPI is expected to rise 0.1% vs. a 0.3% increase in the previous month.

Wednesday's report on the consumer price index is expected to reveal that consumer-level inflation in May was flat vs. a 0.5% increase in the previous month. The core CPI is seen rising 0.1% vs. a flat reading in April.

On Wednesday will also come figures on April business inventories followed by new housing starts in May on Thursday. On Friday, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is expected to show that sentiment dipped to 86 in June vs. a 86.9 reading in May.

The earnings front will also be relatively busy. On Tuesday, investors expect results from electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) and investment bank Lehman Brothers (LEH). On Wednesday comes investment bank Bear Stearns (BSC) and on Thursday rival Goldman Sachs (GS) and cruise operator Carnival (CCL) are on deck. Capping off the week is electronics retailer Circuit City (CC) on Friday.

After the close of trading Thursday, June 9, Intel said that better-than-expected demand for notebook computer chips would result in higher revenues for the second quarter. The chipmaker said it now expects sales between $9.1 billion and $9.3 billion, up from its previous estimate of between $8.6 billion and $9.2 billion. But the semiconductor sector still sold off.

Helping the Dow on Friday was news at General Motors (GM) that members of the United Auto Workers union may agree to bend to management demands to give back some benefits.

Meantime, July crude oil futures were down 74 cents to $53.54 a barrel. Exxon Mobil (XOM) said it was shutting some production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Arlene approached.

A news report said software giant Microsoft (MSFT) was planning a subscription-based online music service that could rival Apple's (APPL) dominant iTunes music store.

Nortel Networks (NT) announced the resignation of Gary Daichendt, the president and chief operating officer of the company. The chief executive, Bill Owens, will now assume those responsibilities as well.

Eli Lilly (LLY) has reached an agreement to settle about 8,000 or 75% of legal claims involving Zyprexa, its antipsychotic drug, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Citibank (C) has reached a settlement in the Enron class action suit against the bank. As part f the settlement, Citibank will make a pre-tax payment of $2 billion.

The U.S. trade deficit in April widened to $57 billion, from $55 billion in March. This came in $1 billion below median estimates, however. Meanwhile, U.S. import prices declined by 1.3% in April, while export prices declined by 0.1%.

Treasury Market

Treasury prices finished lower Friday as traders weighed the stronger than expected trade deficit data vs. the weaker import/export prices. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.04%.

World Markets

European stock markets finished higher Friday. London's FTSE 100 index went up 21.20 points, or 0.42%, to 5,030.40. Gainers included Shell Transport, BP, Reuters Group, and ABN Amro.

Germany's DAX index rose 23.35 points, or 0.51%, to 4,586.10. Metro and AWD Holding were both higher following analyst upgrades, while Beiersdorf traded lower after Merrill Lynch gave the stock a sell rating.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 30.39 points, or 0.73%, moving to 4,184.10.

Asian markets finished higher Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 143.35 points, or 1.28%, to 11,304.23, following comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he believed the U.S. economy was on "firm footing." Exporters rallied, including Matsushita Electric, Honda Motor, and Toyota Motor. The semiconductor sector also showed strong gains.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 36.45 points, or 0.26%, to 13,934.76. Gainers included COSCO Pacific and China Merchants. CKI Holdings, MTR Corp., and Esprit all posted losses.


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