Over-the-Counter Index Surges While Dow Industrials Close Flat

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ While the Dow Jones industrial average ended almost flat Tuesday, the Nasdaq over-the-counter index jumped for a sixth straight session, this time buoyed by bonds as well as by strong technology and cable shares.

The Dow fell 0.27 point to 3,446.19.

Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 11 to 6 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 264.88 million shares as of 4 p.m., up from 220.80 million in the previous session.

The broader market moved steadily higher, while the Dow seesawed. More than other indexes, the Dow is home to stocks that are sensitive to the economy's cycles such as forest products, transportation and steel. Tuesday's bad news weighed heavily on investor's minds, analysts said.

The government said its chief economic forecasting gauge, the Index of Leading Indicators, plunged 1 percent in March, the worst decline since the depths of the recession more than two years ago.

Slow economic activity lessens the chance of inflation, which erodes the value of fixed-income securities such as bonds.

"Stocks reacted to the bond rally," said Richard Myers, head equity trader with Ladenburg, Thalmann Co.

Lower interest rates, which come with higher bond prices, help stocks because they stimulate the economy and lift corporate profits. They also make the potential returns from stocks more appealing than those from interest-bearing investments.

Also buoying stocks Tuesday was the belief the economy will grow at a slow but steady rate, said Alfred Goldman, director of technical market analysis with A.G. Edwards Sons, Inc. in St. Louis. …