Archive for Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dow dips but closes week above 12,000

October 21, 2006


— U.S. stocks ended mixed Friday after a profit warning from Caterpillar Inc. wrapped up an otherwise largely positive week for quarterly earnings reports, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing out the session above 12,000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.36 points to 12,002.37. The benchmark index had struck a fresh all-time high of 12,049.51 on Wednesday.

Caterpillar shares fell 14.5 percent to $59, its lowest close since Jan. 3, after it said a deteriorating housing market and lower sales would combine to cut into its earnings by the end of the year and in 2007.

But fellow Dow components 3M Co. rose 2.7 percent and Merck gained 2.6 percent after their earnings reports. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. rose 1.8 percent to $49.37 ahead of its annual analysts' meeting next week. Coca-Cola, Intel Corp. and McDonald's also advanced.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.36 points at 2,342.30 while the S&P; 500 Index gained 1.64 points to 1,368.60. For the week, the Dow rose 0.3 percent while the S&P; 500 gained 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite logged a weekly loss of 0.6 percent.

"We believe the modest euphoria that comes from breaking a psychological barrier will be short-lived, and that the market will need to correct at least 5 percent in order to set itself up for a year-end rally, which we also expect to happen in line with the historical trend," said Bob Dickey, analyst at RBC Dain Rauscher.

Crude-oil futures fell as traders awaited further signs that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will make good on its pledge after members of the group agreed to cut production more than anticipated. November crude dropped $1.68 to close at $56.82 a barrel, losing 3 percent for the week to expire at the contract's lowest level since June 2005.

Gold futures fell as falling oil prices reduced the metal's attractiveness as an inflationary hedge. The December benchmark contract ended down $6.10 at $596.40 an ounce, but up 0.6 percent on the week.


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