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Archive for Friday, February 1, 2002

P&G helps boost Dow to triple-digit gain

February 1, 2002

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— Wall Street gained momentum Thursday, surging higher for the second straight day on the Federal Reserve's positive outlook for the economy. The Dow Jones industrials rose by triple digits, bringing their two-day advance to more than 300 points.

Investors are feeling more confident that business is poised to turn around following the Fed's statement Wednesday that the economy is strengthening, analysts said. Better-than-expected earnings from Procter & Gamble added to the gains, while an analyst upgrade of Intel helped technology stocks.

Still, there were signs of lingering caution, including early selling in the tech sector.

The Dow closed up 157.14, or 1.6 percent, at 9,920.00, exceeding Wednesday's 144.62-point climb. The biggest contributor to the Dow's gain was P&G.

The broader market also finished higher.

Procter & Gamble soared $3.39 to $81.68 after surpassing quarterly earnings expectations by a penny a share and reaffirming its projections for fiscal 2002. The maker of Crest and Tide, which posted its first sales increase in a year, was the day's strongest Dow stock.

Another consumer products maker, Kraft Foods, climbed $1.56 to $37.06 after raising its 2002 earnings projections Wednesday beyond analysts' expectations.

Other blue chip gainers included Home Depot, up $1.02 at $50.09, and J.P. Morgan Chase, which rose 99 cents to $34.05.

Chip maker Intel, also a Dow industrial, gave the tech sector a lift, rising $1.18 to $35.04 after its shares were upgraded by Merrill Lynch.

Other tech advancers were IBM, up $2.34 at $107.89, and Oracle, which gained 64 cents to $17.26 on an upgrade from Prudential Securities.

Also in tech trading, shares of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer posted moderate gains following clearance of their $23.6 billion merger from the European Union. H-P inched up 15 cents to $22.11, while Compaq rose 36 cents to $12.35.

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