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4/27/2004
04:58 PM
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Good News But Mixed Results

Concerns about rising interest rates negated the effects of good economic news and upbeat earnings reports.

Interest-rate concerns and renewed violence in the Mideast trumped solid earnings reports and good economic news Tuesday, as the markets gave up healthy early-session gains and ended the day mixed.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that consumer confidence rose from 88.3 in March to 92.9 in April, and corporate earnings seem, on balance, to be either meeting or beating expectations.

But investors are still concerned about a potential hike in interest rates. "We're seeing robust earnings and, in a lot of cases, positive surprises in earnings," Peter Wall, chief investment officer at Chase Personal Financial Services, told The Associated Press. "But it still seems to be a dilemma for the market to focus on earnings or interest rates."

Technology stocks took a hit. Our InformationWeek 100 index fell 1.27 points, or 0.4%, to close at 328.90. The Nasdaq also remained essentially flat, falling 4.24 points, or 0.2%, to end at 2,032.53. The Dow rose 33.43 points, or 0.3%, to 10,478.16, while the S&P 500 also rose slightly, gaining 2.62 points, or 0.2%, to 1,138.15. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock fell 10 cents to close at $36.84 on slightly lower-than-average volume of 85 million shares.

Verizon Communications Inc., the largest U.S. telephone company, fell 24 cents to $37.50 after it posted lower earnings, weighed by higher employee costs.

The next big economic news will come Thursday morning, when first-quarter real gross domestic product performance will be announced; economists expect more than 5% growth over the past nine months.

See the full listing of all the companies in the InformationWeek 100 and the top 5 percentage winners and losers for the last closing at informationweek.com/stocks.

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