Dow climbs through 8,800 27-point gain takes the industrials to 8,803

other indexes hit records

Wall Street

March 20, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose to records for a third straight day as a government report suggested that inflation poses little threat to the bull market. Telephone and banking shares led the gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average topped 8,800 for the first time, closing at 8,803.05, up 27.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.22 to a record 1,089.74, as Bell Atlantic Corp. led phone shares higher. The Nasdaq composite index rose 11.70 to an all-time high of 1,799.98, and the Russell 2,000 index of small stocks rose 2.12 to a record 474.30.

Among other broad market indexes, the Wilshire 5,000 index of stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges climbed 42.19 to 10,385.08; the American Stock Exchange composite index gained 4.04 to 726.80; and the S&P 400 mid-cap index added 0.80 to 365.83. All were records.

The Bloomberg Maryland index, which tracks the top 100 stocks in Maryland by market valuation, rose 1.02 to 235.98, its 10th record in a row.

The Labor Department said the consumer price index rose 0.1 percent last month and the core rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3 percent. That reassured investors that the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates unchanged.

Banks rose after the report. Lower rates boost bank profits by making it cheaper for them to borrow money. First Union Corp. rose $1.9375 to $58.25.

J. P. Morgan rose $2.375 to $135.375 on expectations it will be sold. The stock gained 9 percent this week after an analyst said the fourth-largest U.S. bank could be sold within a year.

Telephone companies gained after British Telecommunications PLC Group Finance Director Robert Brace said the company wants to find a partner to enter the U.S. phone market. GTE Corp. rose $1.125 to $57.6875. Baby Bells rose even though Brace said BT isn't interested in them. Bell Atlantic added $3 to $103. BT's American depositary receipts rose $5.50 to $112.

Four stocks advanced for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. The NYSE composite index rose 1.76 to a record 567.38. About 598 million shares traded.

Oil companies extended their gains from Wednesday's rebound in crude prices. DuPont Co., parent of Conoco Inc., rose $1.8125 to $68.625. R&B Falcon Corp., an ocean drilling rig company, rose $1.375 to $28.1875.

Tobacco companies declined on concern that they may lose a secondhand-smoking lawsuit in Indiana, hurting chances for congressional approval of a settlement of health litigation. Philip Morris, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, fell $1.0625 to $41.375. RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., which makes Camel cigarettes, lost 31.25 cents to $33.6875.

Computer shares gained, even as Rockwell International Corp. fell $6.0625 to $54.4375 after warning that it will report earnings far below forecasts because of slowing sales and falling prices for its semiconductors for computer modems. It forecast earnings of about 53 cents a share in the quarter ending this month, 22 cents below analysts' expectations.

International Business Machines Corp. rose $1.3125 to $102.875.

Dell Computer Corp. gained $1.50 to $64.75. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. rose $1.625 to $23.9375.

Brokerage shares declined as no news emerged to support talk that Chase Manhattan Corp. might buy Merrill Lynch & Co. Chase Manhattan fell $2.875 to $135.25, and Merrill Lynch fell $3.9375 to $83.0625.

Sunbeam Corp. fell $4.6875 to $45.375 after the appliance company said first-quarter revenue may not meet analysts' estimates.

Nike Inc. fell $2.375 to $43.75 a day after the shoe and sportswear maker said third-quarter earnings fell sharply because of markdowns and declining orders from Asian retailers.

LHS Group Inc. rose $5.8125 to $93.875 after the software company announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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