Bombings at three hotels in Jordan erased most of an afternoon rally on Wall Street on Wednesday, leaving stocks with only marginal gains...
NEW YORK — Bombings at three hotels in Jordan erased most of an afternoon rally on Wall Street on Wednesday, leaving stocks with only marginal gains as the market’s fears about terrorism resurfaced.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.49 to 10,546.21.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, fell 9 cents to close at $26.96 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell 30 cents to close at $64.71 a share.
Broader stock indicators were slightly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.06 to 1,220.65, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 3.74, to 2,175.81.
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Before the bombings, stocks had advanced modestly as investors hoping for a fourth-quarter rally did their best to create one.
Investors had spent the morning worrying about consumer spending after PepsiCo reduced its year-end forecast and said it would restructure. Traders were already concerned about spending after high-end home builder Toll Brothers cut its 2006 forecast Tuesday.
The morning’s declines triggered short-covering and program buying. Stocks were also boosted by portfolio churn as managers took profits where they could and moved into other equities.
Stocks remain nearly flat for the year and strategists are split between those who think a fourth-quarter rally is almost certain and those who recommend investors shift capital away from stocks and toward cash and bonds.
William Hummer, chief economist at Wayne Hummer Investments, is in the first group. He argues that steady interest rates, solid earnings and a strengthening U.S. dollar will propel the market higher.
“I see stocks being as undervalued now as they were at the end of 1999,” he said.
By contrast, Merrill Lynch’s U.S. Strategy report for November said, “Cash obviously beats our expected return,” for the S&P 500.
In company news, PepsiCo closed unchanged at $58.30 after it announced its restructuring.
American International Group, one of the world’s largest insurers, said it will again restate its financial results, this time through 2002, as part of a long internal probe of its accounting. The company restated five years of results and cut shareholders’ equity by $2.26 billion in late May. AIG rose 52 cents to $66.37 after analysts recommended clients buy on the stock’s dip earlier in the day.
Federated Department Stores, operator of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, rose $4.94 to $68.85 after it reaffirmed its forecast for the fourth quarter and reported that its third-quarter profit climbed more than fivefold from last year.
Crude-oil futures fell. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $58.93, down 78 cents, in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.