Investors hoping for a stock market bounce from a Federal Reserve interest rate cut had to be disappointed Tuesday. The markets, after staying up for most of the day, ended up flat despite the Fed’s cut of 50 basis points.
The central bank’s fifth reduction this year was generally anticipated by traders. So was the Alan Greenspan gang announcement that further cuts can be expected in
light of continuing low levels of capital spending and the attendant risk of slow economic growth. Ultimately, that anticipation resulted in late-day trader anticlimax,
negating earlier market gains.
So how flat was the Dow Jones? Flatter than a Marine recruit’s buzz cut. It lost 4.36 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 10872.97.
The Nasdaq? Flatter than a Bonneville race track. It gained 3.79 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 2085.71. (That did break a string of four straight down days.)
The S&P 500? Flatter than a 3-day-old can of Pepsi. It gained 0.51 points, or 0.04 percent, closing at 1249.43.
And the ISDEX? Flatter than a world map drawn by King Ferdinand’s geographers. The internet.com Internet stock index was the day’s big mover, closing up 3.01, or
1.23 percent, at 248.43.
Two retail giants showed mixed results after each expressed caution about prospects for the rest of the year. Wal-Mart
dropped 2.35, or 4
percent, to $52 after meeting lowered first-quarter forecasts, while Home Depot
rose 0.94, or 2 percent, to $50.09 after beating estimates by two
On a day without many significant ups and downs, telecom equipment maker Gentek
was the New York Stock Exchange’s biggest percentage
loser, closing down 2, or 17 percent, at $9.60. The company announced lower first quarter profits, flat revenues and plans to cut 1,300 workers, 12 percent, close several
plants and discontinue some products.
E-business security software maker Baltimore Technologies
dropped 0.5599, or 22 percent, to $2.01, after tripling first quarter operating
losses and saying it would cut 250 jobs.
plunged 3.5398, or 19 percent, to $14.93. CEO Roys Poyiadijis attributed the decline to anonymous reports circulated
by “unscrupulous short sellers” hoping to drive the stock price down. Volume in the business software maker was about 10 times normal at 12.6 million shares. The
company reported about $103.3 million in cash at the end of the first quarter, which it said was enough to take it through the year.
Semiconductor parts maker Amtech
rose 2.14, or 26 percent, to $10.35 after issuing a strong first quarter report, while a good earnings
report for chip maker Xicor
saw it rise 0.95, or 17 percent, to $6.52.
The day’s most actively traded stocks showed modest losses: Intel
, less than 1 percent to $27.20; Sun Microsystems
less than 4 percent to $17.45, Oracle
less than 1 percent to $15.93, JDS Uniphase
less than 2 percent to $19.84 and Microsoft
less than 1 percent to $68.27.
bucked the high-volume loser trend by posting a modest gain, up 17 cents, about 1 percent, to $18.74.