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Dow breaches 12,000 mark, then retreats

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by Elaine Frei

There was good news and bad news on Wall Street on Wednesday. The good news was that the Dow Jones Industrial Average went above 12,000 for the first time in history, early in the session, before dropping back to end the day 0.36 percent higher to 11,992.68. The bad news was that it could not hold above 12,000 due to unfavorable earnings reports from the Apollo Group and Motorola. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite ended the session 0.3 percent lower to 2,337.15, while the S&P 500 closed at 1,365.96, a gain of 0.1 percent.

Motorola dropped 4.9 percent to $23.64 after it reported that its third quarter revenues were 17 percent higher to $10.6 billion. The decline was attributed revenues not reaching levels anticipated by analysts and in-company estimates.

Apollo Group reported that quarterly earnings were down and said that an investigation into how it grants stock options had found problems. The news sent the for-profit education company’s shares 22.9 percent lower to $37.55.

The semiconductors sector saw declines, as well. The exception was Intel, which added 1 percent to $21.11 even though it reported that quarterly earnings were down. Despite the decline, earnings did better than had been anticipated. Elsewhere in the sector, Analog Devices was 3.6 percent lower to $29.68, while EMC dropped 4.1 percent to $12.18 on a decline in quarterly profits and Applied Materials was 4.6 percent lower to $17.82.

IBM did better, adding 3.3 percent to $89.82 on better earnings than had been predicted. Also helping the computer maker higher was an upgrade from “neutral” to “buy” from Goldman Sachs.

Yahoo was instrumental in the day’s decline for the Nasdaq, dropping 4.8 percent to $22.99 on a quarterly report that did not meet expectations and which brought a downgrade from “outperform” to “market perform” from Piper Jaffray.

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News posted: October 18, 2006

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