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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Dow closes above 12,000 for first time


NEW YORK The Dow Jones industrial average scored its first close above 12,000 today as Wall Street, contending with fresh data that pointed to a weakening economy, managed to hold on to a slim advance.

One day after the index of 30 blue chip stocks made its first foray past 12,000, the Dow closed at 12,011.73, according to preliminary calculations. Strong results from Dow components Coca-Cola Co. and Pfizer Inc. contributed to the average s rise.

The record close came on the anniversary of Black Monday in 1987, where the Dow plunged 508 points and also suffered its second-biggest percentage drop in history. The Dow finished that day at 1,793.90 a far cry from today s record close.

Trading was erratic today, with the overall market struggling to sustain advance gains after a pair of reports signaled the Federal Reserve might have a tougher time orchestrating a soft landing of the economy. Disappointing earnings in the technology sector also weighed on stocks.

The Conference Board s index of U.S. leading economic indicators rose less than forecast in September. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed s general economic index contracted for the first time since April 2003.

This rattled investors who had been sending stocks higher since September on optimism the Fed might even cut rates in early 2007. The afternoon slide might also be a retrenchment as many investors cash in profits, one trader said.

At the close, the Dow rose 19.05, or 0.16 percent, to 12,011.73. The index rose as high as 12,027.74 during afternoon trading, which is below Wednesday s intraday high of 12,049.50

Broader stock indicators advanced. The Standard & Poor s 500 index rose 0.94 or 0.07 percent, to 1,366.90, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 3.79, or 0.16 percent, to 2,340.94.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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