Shares of Homeland Security and Biometric Companies Jump

BOSTON (AP) - Shares of biometric technology companies and other security-related stocks surged in value on the news of Thursday's bombings in London, even as broader measures of the defense sector dropped with the rest of the market.

Among the top performers were Viisage Technology Inc., a maker of face-recognition technology, and Identix Inc., which produces fingerprint and face-scanning systems. Viisage shares were up 7.7 percent at $5.16 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Identix rose 4.5 percent to $5.39 on the Nasdaq.

Other companies in the access-control business saw gains, including LaserCard Corp., which rose 5.5 percent to $6.48 on the Nasdaq. Magal Security Systems Ltd., an Israeli company that provides surveillance equipment to governments and military agencies, jumped 14.9 percent to $9.04 on the Nasdaq.

However, large defense contractors saw their shares fall, including Boeing Co., down 1 percent at $63.65 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Spade Defense Index, which tracks 59 companies in the sector, was down 0.8 percent at 1,684.57. That still represented a huge gain on the index's benchmark value of 1000 on Dec. 30, 2002.

Editor's note: Diversified companies like GE, Northrop Grumman (NOC) and Honeywell (HON) were slightly down at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, reflecting a broad drop in stocks. More specialized companies such as L-3 Communications (LLL) were up slightly. NICE Systems (NICE) was up approximately 2 percent by 11 a.m. EST on Thursday.