Markets

Hewlett-Packard Profit Helps Lift Stocks

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Bloomberg News
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stocks rose yesterday after Hewlett-Packard reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates and oil prices had their biggest drop since April.

Hewlett-Packard, the final Dow Jones industrial average member to announce results for the past quarter, was joined by semiconductor-production equipment maker Applied Materials, which also posted results that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

"Earnings across the board are still going to drive stock prices higher this year and be pretty good," said Jon Brorson, who helps manage $72 billion as head of growth investing at Neuberger Berman in Chicago.

The Dow rose 37.26, or 0.4 percent, to 10,550.71. The Nasdaq composite index gained 8.09, or 0.4 percent, to 2145.15. The S&P 500 inched up 0.90, or 0.1 percent, to 1220.24, limited by a slide in energy stocks. A government report on producer prices that showed inflation may be accelerating also weighed on the benchmarks.

Crude oil for September delivery tumbled $2.83 a barrel in New York, the steepest decline since April 27, as a government report showed that inventories were sufficient for refineries to make gasoline for the final weeks of the summer.

Movers

Applied Materials rose $1.05, or 6.1 percent, to $18.22, for the third-biggest rally in the S&P 500. An index of computer-related companies climbed 1.2 percent, for the best performance among 10 industry groups in the S&P 500.

Exxon Mobil slid 89 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $58.18, for the worst performance in the Dow average. An energy gauge was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 among 24 industry groups, sliding 2.2 percent. Valero Energy, the No. 3 U.S. oil refiner, retreated $4.21, to $86.52.

Nordstrom gained $3.18, or 10.2 percent, to $34.30, for the second-biggest jump in the S&P 500. The upscale department-store chain raised its annual profit forecast to $1.80 to $1.90 a share.

Boeing climbed 75 cents, to $67.02, after United Parcel Service said it ordered eight Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Abercrombie & Fitch slumped $2.38, to $58.85, after the clothing retailer reported second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' estimates.

Indexes

New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 18.39, to 7461.77.

American Stock Exchange index fell 19.28, to 1601.86.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 0.21, to 654.82.

Volume

NYSE: 1.88 billion shares, up from 1.81 billion on Tuesday. Decliners outnumbered advancers 7 to 6.

Nasdaq: 1.54 billion shares, up from 1.52 billion. Advancers narrowly outnumbered decliners.

Commodities

Crude oil for September delivery: $63.25, down $2.83.

Gold for current delivery: $439.90 a troy ounce, down from $446.10 on Tuesday.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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