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Pastimes : All Clowns Must Be Destroyed

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To: Lucretius who wrote (39)12/12/1999 1:40:00 PM
From: MythMan  Read Replies (1) of 42523
 
Wall St. to Continue Ignoring Y2K Worries By Eric Wahlgren Dec 12
11:58am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With Wall Street regarding the end-of-century
computer glitch as a ho-hum ''So what,'' stocks are expected to rise
this week as investors rush into the market before the new year.

The U.S. Labor Department is set to release the Consumer Price Index
(CPI) on Tuesday. Analysts doubt the market will pay much heed to the
report after the Producer Price Index (PPI) -- a gauge of inflation at
the wholesale level -- rose last week by only 2 percent, as expected.

The CPI is closely watched because of fears that a strong reading could
prompt the Federal Reserve to enact an inflation-taming interest rate
hike.

The Fed's policy-setting committee meets later this month, but Wall
Street expects the central bank to leave rates alone for a while after
already raising them three times earlier this year.

''The (CPI) is not going to be anything important for the market,'' said
Roy Blumberg, money manager at Sheer Asset Management. ''The Fed is not
going to do anything about interest rates this year. I think the market
trend is choppily higher.''

The CPI is seen as rising 0.2 percent in November, according to
economists polled by Reuters. Excluding volatile food and energy prices,
the gauge is also expected to increase 0.2 percent.

As analysts see it, stocks have no reason not to head into the week in
rally mode, especially since investors are becoming increasingly
confident that Y2K will not mean global computer meltdown once the clock
ticks to Jan. 1, 2000.

''We already saw the effect of Y2K back in the summer, when the market
did its dipsy-doodle,'' said Arnie Owen, managing director of capital
markets at Cruttenden Roth in Newport Beach, Calif. ''Stocks got to a
level where investors came back in to buy.''

An injection of money by the Federal Reserve into the market to ease
concerns about liquidity near year's end is helping fuel the market's
climb higher, analysts said.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) for the week closed down 61.48
points, or 0.5 percent, at 11,224.70, putting it off more than 100
points from its high of 11,326.04 reached on Aug. 25.

The technology-laden Nasdaq composite index (.IXIC), meanwhile, finished
the week at a new record of 3,620.23, breaking the 3,600 barrier for the
first time.

The Standard and Poor's 500 index (.SPX) for the week slipped 16.26
points to close at 1,417.04. But all three major indices have recently
been near or at record highs.

Another development giving investors reason to cheer: earnings tracking
service First Call/Thomson Financial said third-quarter earnings on
average jumped a whopping 22.7 percent over the year-ago period. It was
the biggest gain since the first quarter of 1995, First Call said.

Some analysts said they were worried about technology stock prices,
which have helped the Nasdaq index gain about 65 percent year to date.

''We have to have a breather in the Nasdaq market,'' said Peter
Coolidge, senior equity trader at Brean Murray & Co.

But Owen does not see much of a letup. ''The market is in rally mode,
and that could continue at least through the first month of next year,''
Owen said. ''You could get a whole wash of new cash going in in
January.''

Not all is rosy. Copier giant Xerox Corp. (XRX.N) may have a rough week
ahead after announcing late Friday that fourth-quarter earnings could be
40 percent lower than Wall Street estimates. The stock closed up 1-2/16
at 24-11/16 on the New York Stock Exchange, before Xerox released the
warning.
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