Dow and S& P Slip; Treasury Yields Rise

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Sunday, March 5, 2006

Stocks

After three winning weeks in a row, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell in a week of indecisive trading.

The S&P index lost just two points, falling to 1287.23. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 40 points but managed to stay above the benchmark 11,000 level, closing at 11,021.59. The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index advanced 16 points, to 2302.60.

The markets continued to meander under the influences of oil prices, interest rates and corporate profits.

Profits soon will fade in importance because the earnings season is about over. This quarter's profits were strong enough to lift the market, but weaker earnings are forecast.

The interest rate forecast isn't so good, either. Several prominent predictors warned that the Federal Reserve may boost rates higher than previously predicted.

Where oil prices are headed is anybody's guess. Seasonally, they usually trend down in the spring, but a truck bomb in Iraq or a rebel attack in Nigeria could send them right back up again -- to the detriment of the stock market.

-- Jerry Knight


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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