Markets

Dow Notches First Close Above 12,000

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Associated Press
Friday, October 20, 2006

NEW YORK, Oct. 19 -- The Dow Jones industrial average scored its first close at more than 12,000 Thursday as Wall Street, showing its growing confidence despite new evidence of a weakening economy, managed to hold on to a slim advance.

The Dow ended the day at 12,011.73, the ninth time in two weeks that the index achieved a record high close. The index gained 19.05, or 0.16 percent, for the day.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 1.00, or 0.07 percent, to 1366.96. The Nasdaq composite index rose 3.79, or 0.16 percent, to 2340.94.

The Dow's latest milestone came on the anniversary of Black Monday in 1987, when the Dow fell 508 points and also suffered its second-biggest percentage drop in history. The Dow finished that day at 1793.90.

The Dow's finish above 12,000 was the latest sign that the stock market continues a cautious recovery from the losses and despair that investors suffered in the early part of this decade. After peaking in early 2000, the Dow and other indicators fell precipitously during the dot-com collapse, recession and the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Still, trading was erratic Thursday, with the overall market struggling to sustain gains after a pair of reports signaled that the Federal Reserve might have a tougher time orchestrating a soft landing of the economy. Disappointing earnings in the technology sector also weighed on stocks.

The Conference Board's index of U.S. leading economic indicators rose less than forecast in September. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed's general economic index contracted for the first time since April 2003. The numbers rattled investors who had been sending stocks higher since September on optimism the Fed might cut rates in early 2007.

Movers

Pfizer fell 42 cents, to $27.68.

Apple Computer rose $4.46, to $78.99. Sales of iPod music players helped fourth-quarter earnings.

Dell fell $1.58, to $23.12.

Advanced Micro Devices fell $3.22, to $21.01. The chipmaker forecast declining profit margins and lower desktop processor revenue.

Indexes

New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 37.27, to 8,700.81.

American Stock Exchange index rose 16.21, to 1,933.08.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3.98, to 767.39.

Volume

NYSE: 2.65 billion shares, up from 2.63 billion on Wednesday. Advancers led decliners by 4 to 3.

Nasdaq: 2.03 billion shares, down from 2.24 billion. Advancers narrowly outnumbered decliners.

Commodities

Crude oil for November delivery: $58.85, up 85 cents.

Gold for current delivery: $599 a troy ounce, up from $$588.90 on Wednesday.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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