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Thursday 20th of November 2008
April 5, 2006

Wall Street up at mid-afternoon


by Elaine Frei

The New York equities markets were mixed at midday on Wednesday after US gasoline inventories were reported down much more than anticipated last week. Crude oil prices were up on the report amid concerns that gasoline prices will spike during the summer driving season.

By mid-afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had overcome earlier losses to gain 0.2 percent to 11,225.14. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.5 percent to 2,356.64. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 had gained 0.3 percent to 1,310.12 on gains in energy stocks after the weekly oil inventories report.

Apple Computer was up over 7 percent to $65.48 when it announced a new software patch that will allow the Macintosh computer to run Windows XP, but this did not help tech stocks generally.

The news that mortgage applications jumped by more than 7 percent last week helped homebuilders. DR Horton added 2.9 percent to $34.84 as the Philadelphia Housing index was up 1.6 percent.

The Amex semiconductor index added 0.9 percent even though three chipmakers lost ground after they were downgraded by Credit Suisse. RF Microdevices dropped 3.6 percent to $8.39, while ON Semiconductor lost 0.6 percent to $7.13 and Fairchild Semiconductor was down 0.4 percent to $19.12.

A downgrade also hurt Dow Jones. Merrill Lynch cut its recommendation on the company from “neutral” to “sell”, saying that it was not likely to be sold soon. Shares in Dow Jones dropped 3.4 percent to $37.80.

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