Stocks turned mixed today as remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan failed to shake investors' worries over inflation and interest rates.
At 3 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 27.87 at 11,006.26. The Dow had risen more than 50 points in earlier trading.
Broader stock indicators were also lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 9.94 at 1,340.51, while the Nasdaq composite index dropped 24.26 to 2,813.00.
Stocks were laboring under several contradictory signs about the future course of interest rates. The market initially tumbled today after the Bank of England increased its base lending rate for the first time in more than a year, following a string of seven cuts.
Concerns that the Fed, the central bank of the United States, will raise rates for a third time this year have pressured stock and bond markets.
But the market rebounded as the text of Greenspan's speech in Grand Rapids, Mich., hit news wires. Greenspan discussed a wide range of topics, from the benefits of free-market economies to the need for fairness in business dealings, but did not discuss U.S. interest rates or inflation.
Instead, Greenspan praised the technological advances that have enabled U.S. businesses to operate more productively, contributing to "the greatest prosperity the world has ever experienced."
Certain technology companies posted major gains today. Global Crossing, the architect of an undersea fiber network, shot up 4 1/8 to 24 7/1 6 after the company agreed to sell a portion of its cable to Microsoft and Softbank for $350 million in cash.
Frontier Corp., a long-distance provider that Global Crossing plans to acquire, rose 6 3/8 to 42 1 1/1 6.
The Dow's gainers included Chevron, up 1 1/2 to 94 1 1/1 6, and Exxon, up 1 3/8 to 80 7/8 . Oil companies have benefited from rising prices.
But investors moved away from consumer companies like Kodak, which was down 2 5/1 6 to 71 3/4 , and Johnson & Johnson, down 1 3/8 to 100 7/1 6.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 5-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 527.65 million shares, well ahead of Tuesday's pace.