Dow gains 20 points in lively session 518 million shares traded

transportation average surges 1.78 percent

September 21, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rallied yesterday, fueled by the biggest gain in transportation companies since mid-July and the simultaneous expiration of options and futures.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.72 to 5,888.46, just shy of Monday's record, and the Dow transportation average spurted 36.81 points, or 1.78 percent, to 2,100.71.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index, representing about 75 percent of the value of all U.S. stocks, climbed 4.02 to a record 687.02, eclipsing Monday's high. The index is ahead 11.5 percent so far this year.

Some 518.4 million shares changed hands yesterday, the 10th busiest session in the New York Stock Exchange's 204-year history.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners 4 to 3 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Nasdaq composite index, home to software publisher Microsoft Corp. and semiconductor maker Intel Corp., rose 7.59 to 1,219.68.

VTC Transportation stocks posted their biggest one-day gain since July 17, boosted by prospects that jet fuel prices will slowly decline in coming months.

Delta Air Lines Inc. surged $2.25 to $72.625; AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, rose $2.50 to $83.50; and Alaska Airgroup Inc. advanced 37 1/2 cents to $20.125.

Railroad and other cargo carriers also benefited from diminished concern that rising fuel costs would eat into profits. Norfolk Southern Corp. rose $2 to $89.375; Burlington Northern Santa Fe gained $1.375 to $84.75; Conrail Inc. advanced $1.125 to $73.625; and CSX Corp. was ahead $1 to $52.625.

Energy-related stocks climbed as the price of Texas crude oil remained close to $23 a barrel, a price that investors think will lead to increased drilling.

J. Ray McDermott Inc. rose $1.50 to $27.50. This week it won a $140 million contract to design and build an offshore drilling tower for a unit of Texaco Inc., up 50 cents to $95.25.

Chevron Corp. rose 87 1/2 cents to $62.75, and Mobil Corp. added $1.25 to $119.625.

Computer-related shares gained and the Morgan Stanley high-technology index rose for an 11th straight day, bringing its gain across that span to 14 percent.

Micron Technology Inc. rose 12 1/2 cents to $27.50 as investors looked past weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings reported late yesterday to a brighter outlook in 1997.

Micron's loss from operations for the three months ended Aug. 29 was 7 cents a share, compared with net income of $1.30 a year ago, reflecting a plunge in prices for computer memory chips. Sales fell 32 percent to $700 million from $1.03 billion.

Among other chip makers, Texas Instruments Inc. rose 87 1/2 cents to $53.125, well below its 52-week high of 82 reached about one year ago.

Intel, the maker of microprocessors for most personal computers, set records on each of the past nine trading days. It rose 37 1/2 cents to $97.375.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. recovered to $138.125, up 37 1/2 cents, after falling $1.875 on news that the Justice Department is investigating new antitrust accusations connected to its Internet software.

Boeing Co., a company that stands to benefit from any pickup in export orders to overseas customers, rose $2.50 to a record $94.875.

Shares of Ventritex Inc. rose $3 to $18.625 after the medical products company won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its new defibrillator to help regulate the heart's rhythms.

Supermarket stocks jumped after Morgan Stanley & Co. raised its investment opinion on a trio of chains.

Safeway Inc. climbed $1.625 to $40.875; Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. rose $1 to $26.875; and Food Lion Inc. advanced 18.75 cents to $8.625.

Pub Date: 9/21/96

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