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Computers Ready for Dow 10,000

March 12, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street traders are worrying more about inflated stock prices than any possible Dow-10,000 computer snafus as the Dow Jones industrial average flirts with the five-digit milestone.

A year ago some consultants warned that old software could read 10000 as 0000 and cause some computers to go haywire, or interpret it as a major crash and trigger automatic selling.

But computer and industry experts say any glitches have been patched, and would have been largely irrelevant, anyway.

``It would be a non-event,″ said Ed Yardeni, chief economist for Deutsche Bank, North America, on Thursday. ``It might just be kind of like a joke to see the Dow is at zero rather than 10000.″

That’s because, while the Dow is a commonly accepted gauge of market activity with the public, the 10,000 milestone holds little interest among professional traders and investors.

``I’m more concerned about the level of the Dow than the five-digit Dow. The market is as high as a kite,″ said Alan Davidson, president of the 130-member Independent Broker-Dealer Association.

Other industry groups were equally ambivalent.

The Securities Industry Association, the New York Stock Exchange and several major brokerages said they envisioned no problems resulting from the extra digit.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a statement that it had been assured any appropriate measures have been taken.

Bruce Hall, vice president of Trigent Software Inc., a software services firm in Southborough, Mass., said updating software to recognize a fifth field is not an unusual or out of the ordinary task for people who maintain systems.

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