Regional stocks flirted with their low for the year last Monday, then rebounded sharply to end the week with a gain of 1.7 percent.
But the recovery was narrow, with 90 of the 213 stocks advancing and most of those gains coming in the last two hours of trading Friday after the Nasdaq Stock Market and New York Stock Exchange staged rallies.
The week's most significant winner was Omnipoint Corp., the Bethesda wireless telephone company that broke into the California market by announcing plans Friday to buy East/West Communications Inc. for $144 million in cash, preferred stock and assumed debt.
Omnipoint jumped almost $14 a share to an all-time high of $75.06 1/4.
East/West, based in Rye, N.Y., provides mobile phone service in the Los Angeles area, using the same European-standard technology as Omnipoint.
Omnipoint itself has agreed to merge with VoiceStream Wireless Corp., the other big company using the Euro-tech phones, as part of a strategy of creating a new national cellular phone service. California has been the biggest gap in the nationwide network the merged company wants to build.
Two thinly traded stocks, the moves of which often are triggered as much by trading volume as corporate developments, headed the week's winners' list -- Biospherics Inc., which operates phone banks for the government, and Walnut Financial Services, a specialized lender.
Strayer Education Inc., the chain of for-profit colleges, has had its stock go down along with shares of other education services. Last week Strayer recovered more than $3 a share after it announced that it would expand its share buyback plan, committing 25 percent of its profit to repurchasing the stock.
Capital One Financial Corp., a credit card issuer with stock that has been in a slump, got a boost from a Barron's article listing it as a favorite of Tom Galvin, chief equity strategist at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette.
The weakest stocks included American Mobile Satellite Corp. and Telebanc Financial Corp., the earnings growth of which was not good enough for analysts, and Cort Business Systems Inc., which said its profit will not meet analyst estimates.