A pair of genetic research firms and a pair of cellular phone companies were the week's most significant winners among Washington regional stocks.
Shares of Human Genome Sciences Inc. and Celera Genomics Group rode a wave of renewed interest in biotech stocks and a plug from an analyst who said they were two of four companies whose work could form "the basis of medicine in the 21st century."
Human Genome shares rose almost $10 to a 52-week high of $77, while shares of Celera jumped more than $7 to $33.43 3/4, their all-time high. Celera is a Rockville-based division of Perkin Elmer Corp. which created a separate "tracking stock" for Celera in April. The shares, trading under the symbol CRA, have not yet been added to the Washington Post-Bloomberg Regional Stock Index, which includes more than 200 companies in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
The index inched up about two-thirds of a point -- less than a half of 1 percent -- from the previous week, scoring all its gains on Friday when the Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 235 points.
Shares of two locally based cellular services, Nextel Communications Inc. and Omnipoint Corp., gained more than 9 percent during the week, making them the fifth- and sixth-best performers among issues in the regional index.
At the opposite end of the performance scale, shares of Circuit City Stores Inc., the big consumer electronics chain, and Heilig-Meyers Co., the Richmond-based furniture stores, fell along with other retail stocks after Sears, Roebuck and Co. warned that its sales were weakening.
The week's hardest-hit stock was Cel-Sci Corp., which lost more than 25 percent of its value in continuing reaction to a mysterious -- and maybe phony -- takeover offer.
The offer by a never-before-heard-of company on the island of Tortola drove up the stock, but the gains have evaporated since Cel-Sci executives dismissed the bid as unconfirmable if not fictitious.