Week ending July 21
Despite a mid-week rally following Fed Chairman Ben Benacke's soothing comments about inflation, the Morningstar US Market Index gave up another 0.06% for the week ending July 21. Escalating tensions in the Middle East continued to weigh heavily on the minds of investors.
In a continuation of the trend seen in recent weeks, investors favored large-cap stocks that tend to weather choppy markets better than smaller growth-oriented stocks. The Morningstar US Value Index increased its lead over the Morningstar US Growth Index to 15.22% for the year. However, the Morningstar Large Core Index took this week's top spot with a healthy 1.36% gain, while the Morningstar Mid Growth Index landed on the bottom with a 3.0% drop.
Microsoft, the Morningstar Large Core Index's second largest stock, surged 7% on a positive financial outlook and a $40 billion share repurchase program. Strong second-quarter earnings reports for index heavyweights Motorola Inc., Abbott Laboratories, and Johnson & Johnson helped to push the index higher.
Mid-cap semiconductor stocks slid last week, driving the Morningstar Mid Growth Index down by 15% in the last three months. Semiconductor firm Rambus Inc. plummeted 32% on news that the firm will have to restate earnings as far back as 2003 because of a stock option probe. PMC Sierra Inc., another semiconductor firm, saw its shares drop 27% on a second-quarter loss and a projected decline in third-quarter sales. The bad news spread to MEMC Electronic Materials, which dropped 16%.