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US Stocks Higher Friday as Consumer Confidence Gets a Boost - 2001-10-27


Stocks moved mostly higher on Wall Street Friday, with the major indices scoring gains for the week as well. However, technology investors were tentative, as they faced more disappointing corporate earnings results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 82 points, almost one percent, to 9,545. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 4 points, while the tech-weighted Nasdaq composite dropped less than half a percent, down about 7 points.

Despite the loss, the Nasdaq was up nearly 7 percent for the week. The Dow Industrials were more than 4 percent higher.

Shares of JDS Uniphase lost ground Friday, after the fiber optic company reported big losses and warned sales will probably continue to fall. Technology companies are hurting from a cutback in capital spending, as businesses trim budgets in the weaker U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, Americans may be getting over their initial gloom following the September 11 terror attacks. The latest survey shows consumer confidence edged higher in October.

Analysts are not sure what is driving the markets higher. But the absence of a huge sell-off at the end of the day, which happens often in times of uncertainty, is considered very encouraging. Ted Weisberg is a veteran market watcher on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

"The strength at the end of the day is terrific. I don't want to say "bull-market" action," he said. "But it certainly is very positive, and it's technically very encouraging. The market seems to be discounting an awful lot of bad news, and the action really is very positive."

In other news, and it was big on Wall Street, the Pentagon awarded the largest military contract ever to leading U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The deal, which involves developing the next-generation fighter jet, is said to be worth more than $200 billion. Lockheed was competing with Boeing.

Defense stocks, in general, rose throughout the day Friday, in anticipation of increased military spending in the battle against terrorism.

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