Stocks sputtered to a mixed finish Monday as investors winced at some hints of inflationary pressure just a day before a key Federal Reserve meeting on interest rate policy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.93 to 7,672.79 after enduring a 100-point swing for the sixth straight session.
Technology shares and smaller-company issues provided some leadership for an afternoon rebound, but the blue-chip sector faltered near the close, pulling several market measures back into negative territory. The Dow had rallied from a 75-point morning deficit to a 40-point gain before retreating.
Stocks were pressured all day by a weak bond market, where interest rates rose amid signs that economic growth may be accelerating to a more inflationary pace after slowing during the second quarter.
Even if the data raised a few eyebrows, however, most observers remained confident that Federal Reserve officials, who meet today and Wednesday, won’t see a need to cool off the economy with a boost in the central bank’s key lending rates.
“No one expects the Fed to raise interest rates. It would be an amazing shock,” said Don Hays, director of investment strategy at Wheat First Butcher Singer of Richmond, Va.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 7-to-6 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 561.58 million shares as of 4 p.m., up sharply from Friday’s pace.
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Monday:
Rykoff-Sexton, up 3-11/16 at 23-5/16.
JP Foodservice, down 1-7/16 at 28-11/16.
JP agreed to acquire Rykoff-Sexton in a $1.4 billion deal that would create the nation’s secondlargest food distributor. JP, based in Columbia, Md., will issue 0.84 of a share for each Rykoff share and assume $700 million of debt from Rykoff, which is based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Walgreen, up 2-13/16 at 53-5/8.
The drug store operator reported strong sales and earnings and said it plans a 700-store expansion to 3,000 stores by 2000. Walgreen reported a third-quarter profit of $108.1 million on revenue of $3.4 billion, beating forecasts.
Stratasys, down 5-5/8 at 16-1/8.
The company expects to report disappointing second-quarter revenues due to manufacturing constraints for its FDM-8000 product. Stratasys said its revenues also were hurt by unfavorable foreign exchange rates and delays in closing some sales.
Cyanotech, down 1-3/8 at 4-15/16.
The maker of natural products from microalgae expects to report disappointing results for its first quarter ending Monday. Cyanotech, based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, blamed weaker than anticipated export demand, particularly from China.
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