Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Stock Prices Close on Mixed Note as Investors Fear Another Rate Hike

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Stock Prices Close on Mixed Note as Investors Fear Another Rate Hike

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks finished a cautious session on a mixed note Thursday, as bond prices weakened and investors worried about another possible rise in interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 6.73 to 3,850.92, reversing direction after three consecutive days of gains totaling 24 points.

But advancing issues outnumbered decliners by 1,156 to 1,076 on the New York Stock Exchange. Big Board volume was moderate at 309.15 million shares, down from 319.45 million Wednesday.

Broad-market indexes were mixed. A rally in technology shares helped support the Nasdaq composite early in the day, but the index closed down 0.18 at 745.66. The NYSE's composite index fell 0.07 to 251.39. The Standard Poor's 500-stock index declined 0.37 to 460.34. But the American Stock Exchange's market value index rose 0.22 to 433.76.

"The bond market's off, so there's not any particular driver for the market," said Gail Dudack, a market analyst at S.G. Warburg. "In fact, it's holding up well in view of the bond market's selling off."

The 30-year bond fell point. Its yield, which rises when prices fall, stood at 7.88 percent, up from 7.85 percent on Wednesday. The dollar weakened.

Stock traders said the market was stalled ahead of December jobs figures due out Friday. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to show an increase of about 277,000 jobs, and the nation's unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 5.6 percent.

A bigger increase in nonfarm jobs, or a drop in the unemployment rate, could encourage the Federal Reserve to increase short-term interest rates at its policymaking meeting later this month, analysts said.

Many market participants expect a tightening, which would be the seventh in less than a year's time. The prospect of higher rates is putting a damper on what should normally be a rally in the market at this time of year. …

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