Wall Street ended mixed Monday after weakness in the technology sector punctured some of the market’s enthusiasm over a report that suggested the economy could still be growing.
But comments from memory chip maker SanDisk Corp. about soft sales helped pull stocks off their highs and sent tech shares lower. The Dow Jones industrial average, which had been up more than 100 points, finished well off its highs.
The Conference Board’s leading economic indicators report showed a 0.1 percent rise for April, following a similar uptick in March. The index, aimed at predicting economic activity in the next three to six months, bolstered investors’ belief that the overall U.S. economy, while weak, is positioned for recovery.
After five months of declines in the leading indicators, some investors were concerned that March’s increase was an anomaly — so April’s advance was met with relief, said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors.
But technology shares tugged at the market after SanDisk issued cautious comments at a JPMorgan technology conference Monday, said Neil Massa, senior trader at MFC Global Investment Management in Boston. SanDisk fell $2.42, or 7.5 percent, to $30.02. SanDisk’s remarks came on a day of light trading and dented but didn’t sink an upbeat mood on Wall Street.
“Even though you’re up only 0.1 percent, it’s very good news that the declining trend may have been reversed,” Johnson said, referring to the leading indicators report. “That is important for this reason: It’s consistent with the message of the markets.” The broader market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, rose 2.67 percent last week on cautious optimism about the economy.
The Dow rose 41.36, or 0.32 percent, to 13,028.16. The blue chips had been up nearly 150 points at their highs of the session.
Broader stock indicators finished mixed. The S&P 500 advanced 1.28, or 0.09 percent, to 1,426.63, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 12.76, or 0.50 percent, to 2,516.09.
Government bonds rose as the rally in stocks cooled. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its yield, fell to 3.83 percent from 3.85 percent late Friday.
The dollar rose against most other major currencies, while gold prices also climbed.
One pressure point for the economy — rising energy prices — appeared relatively in check Monday. While many investors remain mindful of the rising price of oil and its effect on consumer spending, Wall Street seemed somewhat unfazed as oil advanced but didn’t top its record trading high set Friday. Light, sweet crude rose 76 cents to settle at a record $127.05 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of a gallon of regular gasoline topped $4 for the first time in two U.S. metropolitan areas. Still, energy didn’t seem as large of a concern as in some recent sessions.
Financial shares also pulled back after the market came off its highs. Merrill Lynch & Co. fell $1.14, or 2.3 percent, to $47.71, while Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. fell 85 cents to $42.79.
In other corporate news, Microsoft Corp. has renewed talks with Yahoo Inc. about a possible deal to bolster the companies’ position in the online search and advertising markets. The companies appear to be exploring possible arrangements outside of a direct tie-up. Microsoft fell 53 cents to $29.46, and Yahoo rose 2 cents to $27.68.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
General Motors Corp. rose after one of its biggest suppliers reached a tentative labor deal with the United Auto Workers. The agreement with American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. may end a nearly three-month strike by 3,650 U.S. hourly workers. GM advanced 19 cents to $20.87.
Lowe’s Cos. posted a first-quarter profit decline and issued an outlook for the year that came in below analyst estimates. The second-largest home improvement chain fell 64 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $24.25.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 2.72, or 0.37 percent, to 738.45.
Declining issues narrowly outpaced advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.15 billion shares compared with 1.31 billion traded Friday.
In overseas trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed up 0.35 percent. In Europe, London’s FTSE closed up 1.15 percent, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.97 percent and Paris’ CAC 40 was up 1.26 percent.