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Stocks change little during low-volume trading day

SHARE Stocks change little during low-volume trading day

NEW YORK — Stocks were little changed Friday as traders, no longer preoccupied with interest rates, searched in vain for guidance on the market's direction.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 9.89 at 11,192.63. The blue-chip index gained 146.15 for the week.

Broader stock indicators were lower. The NASDAQ composite index was down 10.60 at 4,042.68, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.85 at 1,506.46. The NASDAQ gained 112.34 for the week, while the S&P 500 rose 14.74.

Analysts said Friday's tepid trading was reflective of a number of cross currents now at work on Wall Street. But on the whole, the markets are in something of a holding pattern.

"Volume is very low. It seems the markets have reached an equilibrium and there's just not a lot going on," said Ricky Harrington, technical analyst with Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C.

The most closely watched event Friday had little impact on the broader markets.

Shares of Emulex fell 62 percent during the session to a low of $43 after someone issued a phony press release stating that the network equipment maker was restating its earnings and that its CEO had quit. The stock recovered most of the losses, closing down $7.313 at $105.75, after the company refuted the reports as a hoax.

Emulex officials said the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI were investigating.

No single piece of economic data or news influenced Friday's market, however.

Instead, some investors sold stocks to capture recent profits. Technology stocks bore the brunt.

Micron Technology fell $3.563 to $89 and Texas Instruments was down $2.312 at $67.063.

On the NASDAQ, telecommunications parts maker Qualcomm was down $1.75 at $58.875, and Internet giant Yahoo! was down $5.563 at $134.25.

Stocks have been climbing slowly but steadily for weeks as it became apparent to investors that the Federal Reserve Board had concluded its strategy of raising interest rates to slow the economy and stem inflation was working. On Tuesday, the Fed came through, making no change in its rate policy.

The Dow has risen more than 650 points in the past two weeks and is at its highest point since it reached 11,287.08 on April 11. And the NASDAQ is at its highest level in a month.

Some concerns remain, however, such as high energy prices and tight labor markets, both of which could contribute to a rise in inflation. In addition, several sectors have warned that profits may be down in the second half of 2000.

These factors could pose obstacles as the markets try to reclaim their highs of early spring.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a slender margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 670.68 million, well below Thursday's pace.

The Russell 2000 index of small companies was up 1.81 at 525.11.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.44 percent. Germany's DAX index was up 1.06 percent, Britain's FT-SE 100 was up 0.10 percent, and France's CAC-40 was up 2.06 percent.

On the Net: New York Stock Exchange: www.nyse.com; NASDAQ Stock Market: www.nasdaq.com