Originally created 03/02/05

Decline in oil costs lures buyers back



NEW YORK - Falling oil prices and a broker upgrade of the semiconductor sector pushed stocks higher Tuesday, enticing buyers back into the market after the previous session's losses.

Technology shares climbed as both J.P. Morgan Securities and Lehman Brothers upgraded the chip sector. Morgan cited "a more bullish view" of the industry.

Technology shares have lagged as other stocks moved up last month, and investors greeted the news as a sign that the recovery was finally spreading to the tech sector.

A drop in oil prices helped feed buying in stocks, as investors hoped that crude futures would not pass $52 per barrel. Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell to 7 cents a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"With oil lower, you're seeing the market move broader, moving out of energy stocks and into everything else," said Jay Suskind, the head trader at Ryan Beck & Co. "Just across the board, there's a sense the market wants to move higher this spring."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.77, or 0.59 percent, to 10,830.00.

Broader stock indicators also closed higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 6.81, or 0.57 percent, at 1,210.41, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 19.53, or 0.95 percent, to 2,071.25.

Investors were disappointed with the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for February, which came in at 55.3, lower than the reading of 57 economists expected and down from January's 56.4.

However, those fearing inflation could see the report as good news, since a slide in demand for industrial goods bodes well for lower prices.