Stocks managed to extend their gains into a second session yesterday as a bright outlook from Oracle and better-than-expected results from...
NEW YORK — Stocks managed to extend their gains into a second session yesterday as a bright outlook from Oracle and better-than-expected results from chipmaker Texas Instruments lifted the technology sector.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 37.03 to 10,498.59.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 1 cent to close at $26.01 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, added 2 cents to $49.86.
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The broader gauges also closed higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 5.66 at 1,174.07. The Nasdaq composite index rose 26.14 to 2,046.09, its best one-day point gain since Dec. 7. The tech-focused index had dropped nearly 6 percent over the last three weeks.
Despite the day’s strong trading, some analysts were skeptical about whether the gains would hold, particularly after three weeks of persistent declines.
Stocks have not enjoyed three straight days of gains since the year began; they’ve also tended to lose momentum after robust starts, even in the face of good earnings and positive economic data — a pattern that has made investors extremely cautious.
“The fact that the market came down so hard during the first three weeks of the year has got people saying, ‘Gee, the market is smarter than me, what is it trying to tell us?’ ” said Todd Clark, head of listed equity trading at Wells Fargo Securities.
“Everyone is looking deeply into earnings reports and guidance to see if there is something that justifies the declines that we’ve had.”
The government’s report of a build in crude alleviated pricing pressure, and crude futures declined 86 cents to settle at $48.78 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil prices were still uncomfortably close to the $50 mark, however, amid growing anxiety about trouble in the Mideast ahead of the upcoming elections in Iraq.
Investors were also focused on earnings and forecasts during a week when hundreds of companies were releasing results. The spate of good news and momentum from the previous session raised some hope that investors would return to the market in greater numbers.
“I think it feels like we might be able to hold a few days to the upside, assuming corporate-earnings news continues to cooperate,” said Jack Caffrey, equities strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
“The good news is, the good news is spread around today. It’s not like people are taking their cue from any one datapoint. It seems to make for a somewhat healthier backdrop.”
Texas Instruments surged 7.3 percent, or $1.54, to $22.66 yesterday, as the maker of chips for cellphones Tuesday beat Wall Street’s expectations despite a dip in fourth-quarter profits compared to a year ago.
Software maker Oracle gained 3 cents to $13.62 after reiterating its outlook for the current fiscal year and sharply raising its forecast for 2006, citing likely earnings gains related to its acquisition of PeopleSoft.