U.S. stocks log biggest gain in more than 2 weeks Oracle Corp. boosts software issues and helps end Nasdaq's 6-day slide


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks yesterday logged their biggest gain in more than two weeks as better-than-expected earnings from Oracle Corp. boosted software issues and helped the Nasdaq composite index snap a six-day slide.

Stocks got a additional spark from the quarterly expiration of options and futures, which spurred demand for shares.

More than 520 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the sixth most-active day in the exchange's history.

Oracle surged to an all-time high after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter net income rose 47 percent on strong sales of its database programs, especially overseas.

"Oracle's earnings were a positive piece of news that reminded the stock market good companies are still growing their profits," said James Weiss, deputy chief investment officer for stocks at State Street Research & Management Co., which has $37 billion in assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 45.8, or 0.81 percent, to 5,705.23, gaining about 25 points in the last half-hour of trading. The 30-stock average, which closed above 5,700 for the first time this month, rose about 1 percent for the week.

Shares of Boeing jumped $1.75 to a record $89.125. The stock is up 7.2 percent since the company told investors Wednesday that it plans to double production of its best-selling 737 jet because demand is booming. Analysts raised their profit estimates to reflect the pickup in business.

General Electric Co., another one of the 30 Dow industrials, jumped $1.375 to a record $87. The company told analysts this week that it wants to boost overseas sales to about half of total sales by 1998.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 8.10 to 1,175.44 after a six-day slide that shaved 68.13 points from the index.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.74, or 0.72 percent, to 666.84 -- its largest advance since June 5. For the week, the S&P 500 was little changed and the Nasdaq lost 3.12 percent.

Among other broad market indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks rose 1.05 to 345.21; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, jumped 36.55 to 6575.2.

The American Stock Exchange market value index fell 0.29 to 584.95; and the S&P 400 midcap index slid 0.01 to 234.96.

Yesterday's most active stocks in U.S. composite trading were Oracle, Westinghouse Electric Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cisco Systems and Coca-Cola Co.

Computer and software shares gained after a week-long slide.

Early this week, Lattice Semiconductor Corp. said falling prices and high inventories would cause earnings to drop from year-earlier levels, fueling concern that technology companies as a group would be unable to beat investors' profit expectations.

Pub Date: 6/22/96

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