New York: As stocks teetered to a mixed close on Thursday, 30 August, investors celebrated Novell’s loss, Dell’s following widened and Freddie Mac floundered as mortgage problems hit home.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 50.56, or 0.4%, to 13,238.73. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.14, or 0.1%, to 2,565.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 6.12, or 0.4%, to 1,457.64. The New York Stock Exchange Composite Index shed 52.28, or 0.5%, to 9,456.64.
“The market is consumed by the ‘Bernanke trade’,” said Georges Yared, chief investment strategist at Yared Investment Research. “Everyone seemed to be sitting on pins and needles waiting for (the Federal Reserve chairman) to speak on Friday. The hope is for any kind of signal the central bank is preparing to lower interest rates.”
Novell (Nasdaq) rose 54 cents, or 8%, to 7.33, the S&P 500’s best-percentage gainer. The distributor of open-source software used to run computer servers reported its net loss in the third quarter narrowed from a year earlier amid an increase in sales.
Dell (Nasdaq), which rose 3.6% in Wednesday’s tech rally, added another 60 cents, or 2.2%, to 28.46 ahead of posting second-quarter earnings after the close. The computer giant reported higher second-quarter profit and sales helped by a push into retail stores and favorable trends.
Freddie Mac fell 3.18, or 5%, to 60.07. The second- largest US home-mortgage financier posted a 45% drop in second-quarter net income as it set aside $320 million for losses, and expects credit losses to continue to rise as the housing slump persists. Larger rival Fannie Mae lost 2.36, or 3.6%, to 63.40.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 1.28 billion shares. Down volume exceeded up by 874 million to 396 million and stocks that fell in value exceeded those that gained by 1,962 to 1,315.