Stocks up 22.36 in short session Dow's increase caps best month for market since December 1991

November 30, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose in a shortened post-Thanksgiving session as declining bond yields brightened the outlook for corporate profits. A promising start to the Christmas shopping season helped retail shares advance.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.36 to 6,521.70, capping the best month for U.S. stocks in almost five years. The average gained 8.16 percent in November, the most since its 9.47 percent advance in December 1991.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.02 to 757.02, bringing its gain for the month to 7.33 percent, also its best since December 1991. The Nasdaq composite index rose 5.29 to 1,292.61, and advanced 5.82 percent for the month.

The Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks gained 1.44 to 354.11; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges, spurted 22.64 to a record 7,292.16; the American Stock Exchange market value index rose 2.84 to 591.48; and the S&P midcap index lost .21 to 255.61.

About 150 million shares changed hands as trading ended at 1 p.m.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 1,305 to 934. Trading was well below the NYSE's three-month daily average of 421 million shares, and slightly above the 125 million registered on the day after Thanksgiving a year ago.

Retail shares gained, buoyed by increasing consumer spending.

J.C. Penney & Co. rose 62.5 cents to $53.75; Sears Roebuck & Co. gained 75 cents to $49.75; and Federated Department Stores Inc. rose 25 cents to $34.125. Toymaker Exx Inc. was among the biggest percentage gainers in U.S. markets as its Class A shares soared $3.50, or 76 percent, to $8.125.

Unisys Corp. was the most actively traded stock in U.S. markets. It rose $1 to $7.625 after Business Week reported in its Dec. 9 issue that it was a good buy and a possible buyout target.

Among the day's gainers, Progress Software Corp. shares rose $3.875 to $20.125 after the CNBC television network reported that Microsoft Corp. may buy the company. Progress shares have lost 46 percent of their value this year.

Bonds gave the market a boost. The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond's yield fell to 6.35 percent from 6.42 percent Wednesday. Since the start of September, the yield on the 30-year bond has fallen 74 basis points.

Bank shares were helped by the falling yields. Bank of Boston Corp. rose $1 to $70; BankAmerica Corp. rose 75 cents to $102.75; and Banc One Corp. rose 87.5 cents to $47.625.

The Standard & Poor's Major Regional Banks Index has risen 24 percent in three months, well in excess of the 15 percent rise in the S&P 500 during the same period.

Quaker Oats Co. rose $2.125 to 39.375 after Brandweek said the company is in talks to sell its Snapple and Gatorade beverage units to PepsiCo Inc.

U.S. Robotics Corp. rose $5.125 to $78.625 after Dell Computer Corp. said late Wednesday that it will offer the modem maker's x2 technology for faster Internet access on its Dimensions desktop personal computers.

Cityscape Financial Corp. fell 50 cents to $26 after the Wall Street Journal reported in its "Heard on the Street" column that it is among the consumer-finance companies that some analysts are concerned about because of loans to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit records.

Among other companies in the same business, Aames Financial fell 37.5 cents to $42.875 and RAC Financial Group dropped 75 cents to $53.75.

Baxter International Inc. rose 37.5 cents to $42.50 after postponing its planned $965 million offer for Immuno International AG, citing the need for antitrust clearance.

Hilton Hotels Corp. shares rose 37.5 cents to $29.25 after the hotel and casino company said it received approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to acquire Bally

Entertainment Corp. for $3 billion. Bally rose 50 cents to $29.25.

AT&T Corp. shares rose 25 cents to $39.25 yesterday on the news late Wednesday that the company will raise its basic long-distance calling rates in the U.S. by 5.9 percent starting tomorrow to cover increased costs for customer service and for enhancing its phone network.

Central Tractor Farm & Country Inc. rose $2.50 to $14.25 after the agricultural specialty retailer agreed to be acquired by J.W. Childs Equity Partners LP, a private investment firm, for about $156 million.

Pub Date: 11/30/96

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