S&P climbs after Mubarak delegates

The S&P and Nasdaq eked outgains in the final minutes of trading yesterday as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he would delegate powers to the vice president.

Weakness in Cisco Systems brought the Dow’s eight-day rally to an end after the network equipment maker gave a weak outlook.

The S&P and Nasdaq wavered in volatile late-day action as Mubarak began a speech in response to the weeks of civilian protests. Earlier in the day, as media reports spread that Mubarak might resign, equities rebounded off early lows sparked by the disappointment over Cisco.

The Van Eck Market Vectors exchange-traded fund ended up 0.45 per cent, cutting gains late when it appeared that Mubarak was not stepping down. Previously, the fund had risen as much as 5.8 per cent.

More than two weeks of civilian unrest in Egypt have created some uneasiness among global investors on fears that political instability could spread through the region and impact commodities. Mubarak’s move, however, failed to meet the demands of enraged protesters that he step down immediately.

Volume on Wall Street was stronger than in recent days, which had seen some of the thinnest trade of the year. But with a total of about 8.15bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, volume was still below last year’s daily average of 8.47bn.

“Egypt stopped us from dropping lower, but the low volume means that people are skeptical of the climb we’ve had,” said Michael Nasto, senior trader at US Global Investors in San Antonio, Texas.

Cisco shares tumbled 14 per cent to $18.92 on heavy volume a day after the outlook, but shares in its chief competitors surged.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 10.60 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 12,229.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.99 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 1,321.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.38 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,790.45.