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U.S. Stocks End Higher After Volatile Week
By Holly Rosenkrantz  Reuters
NEW YORK — Stocks rose on Friday, wrapping a week of tremendous market volatility as Wall Street's appetite for technology shares was dampened by disappointing results from some big-name companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 41.32 points, or 0.4 percent, at 9,339.95. For the week, it was up 65.06 points.

But in the broader market, declining issues led advances 1,530 to 1,392 on moderate volume of 696 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 23.05 points, or 1 percent, at 2,283.60. For the week, it was down 38.34 points.

The market fluctuated wildly this week, with the Dow plummeting 101 points and Nasdaq plunging 65 points on Wednesday, followed by Thursday's recovery of 103 points in the Dow and a 12-point bounce in the Nasdaq.

Wall Street was rattled by signs that the bull market in technology stocks may have run its course after trendsetters, Dell Computer Corp., the world's biggest direct seller of personal computers, and Hewlett-Packard Co., the No. 3 computer maker, reported disappointing results for the latest quarter.

On Friday, investors were shopping for bargains among the battered technology stocks, but they favored some of the big-name companies, even among the Internet shares.

"People who have made money in the techs still feel it's the place to be," said Ken Ducey, head of trading at BT Brokerage.

Microsoft Corp. was up 2 at 147-3/4 and Cisco rose 15/16 to 97-1/8.

Internet darlings were also higher with Amazon.com jumping 12-3/8 to 101-7/8 and Yahoo Inc. up 6-7/16 at 135-5/16. Internet-related stocks were also strong in their Wall Street debut. Vignette Corp. gained 23-11/16 at 42-11/16 and WebTrends rose 14-1/16 to 27-1/16.

"It looks as if technology is trying to reassert its leadership role," said Guy Truicko, portfolio manager, Unity Management in Lake Success, N.Y.

In the economic news, the government reported that inflation was still dormant at the consumer level.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index rose just 0.1 percent in January, both overall and in the closely watched core index, which strips out volatile food and energy costs. That was below the 0.2 percent gain for both indices forecast by economists in a Reuters survey.

"These are very favorable CPI numbers," said Pierre Ellis, senior economist at Primark Decision Economics. "There is no pressure on the Fed (Federal Reserve) to raise interest rates. That should be good for the market." The report put to rest fears that the strong growth was becoming inflationary. Recently, Wall Street mulled the odds of an eventual Federal Reserve interest rate hike aimed to cool the economy and head off inflation.

In another report, the nation's trade deficit jumped to a record $168.59 billion last year and the government said the gap would likely grow bigger in 1999 as the robust economy sucked in more imports from troubled countries.

Looking ahead, the stock market was bracing for testimony from Federal Chairman Alan Greenspan, who delivers his semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins report on the economy to Congressional committees Tuesday.

Among the blue-chip gainers, American Express Co. rose 9/16 at 103-3/16, McDonald's Corp. added 2-10/16 at 85-9/16 and Eastman Kodak Co. was up 2-6/16 at 66-3/16.

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. rose 2-1/2 to 72-3/8 after it said it would buy the Internet technology group of investment firm D.E. Shaw.

Dell lost another 2-7/8 at 80-1/8 while HP added 7/16 at 68-3/8.

Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. gained 3-1/2 at 31-15/16 on news that the shipbuilder had received an unsolicited $2 billion takeover bid from General Dynamics Corp. whose stock closed up 5/16 at 60-3/8.

The Standard & Poor's composite index of 500 stocks gained 1.91 points at 1,239.19. The American Stock Exchange index rose 2.75 to 692.57.

The NYSE Composite index of all listed common stocks edged up 0.10 at 586.50. The average share was up 1 cent.

The Wilshire Associates Equity Index — the market value of NYSE, American and Nasdaq issues — was 11,280.820, up 25.461 or 0.23 percent.

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