Stocks climb through 8,900 Dow industrials surge 103 points, to 8,906, but Nasdaq falters

March 21, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose further yesterday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average above 8,900 for the first time, as money managers rushed to buy shares before the end of the quarter.

The Dow rose 103.38 to 8,906.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.42 to a record 1,099.16. The Nasdaq composite index fell 10.82 to 1,789.16, as the computer-related shares that dominate the index declined on signs that Asia's slowdown is hurting sales.

The stock market is getting a boost as individual investors turn to mutual funds. In February, a net $19.5 billion was invested in stock funds, up from $14.6 billion in January, according to the Investment Company Institute. Those funds report their performance to investors at the end of each quarter, giving fund managers with fresh cash just seven trading days to buy stocks if they want to show that they are fully invested.

This is the eighth straight week of gains for stocks. This week alone, the S&P 500 rose 2.9 percent and the Dow climbed 3.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite rose 1 percent.

The Dow passed three milestones this week -- 8,700, 8,800 and 8,900 points -- as stocks surged in the final hour of trading almost every day. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 set records every day this week.

Among other broad market indexes, the Wilshire 5,000 index of stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges, climbed 70.80 to a record 10,455.88; the American Stock Exchange composite index gained 0.99 to a record 727.79; and the NYSE composite index rose 5.23 to a record 572.61. The Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks slid .05 to 474.25 and the S&P 400 mid-cap index slipped .32 to 365.51.

The Bloomberg Maryland index, which tracks the top 100 stocks in Maryland by market valuation, rose 0.78 to 236.76, its 11th straight record.

Four stocks rose for every three that fell yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange, on volume of 713 million shares. It was the highest volume since Feb. 2, when 723 million shares changed hands.

Oil companies rose on optimism that crude prices have reached bottom. Chevron Corp. led the Dow higher, rising $3.0625 to $86.875. Halliburton Co. rose $2.375 to $48.125.

Philip Morris Cos. rose $1.6875 to $43.0625; Loews Corp. rose $3.1875 to $107.5625; and RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. rose 37.5 cents to $34.0625.

Boeing Co. rose $2 to $53.4375, after it said it will eliminate 8,200 jobs by 2000. The aircraft maker said it won't need to take special charges for the cuts.

Computer-related shares declined after Dallas Semiconductor Corp. warned that profit will be disappointing, because of weak Asian demand and slow sales of wireless devices and personal computer add-ons. Its shares fell $4.25 to $34.6875.

Intel Corp., the world's largest chip maker, fell $1.5625 to $75.75 after it cut the price of its speediest microprocessor by 19 percent to stimulate demand for more expensive personal computers.

Price wars in the market for personal computers and their components are hurting Rockwell International Corp., which fell 10 percent Thursday but finished up 6.25 cents yesterday to $54.50.

Rockwell joined other technology companies that have warned about poor earnings. Compaq Computer Corp. has said it won't make money in the quarter because of slower sales of personal computers, and Intel Corp. said earnings would be disappointing.

Sun Microsystems Inc. fell $2.1875 to $42.9375 after Hewlett-Packard Co. said it will compete against Sun with its own version of Java software.

Wayne Bancorp Inc. rose $4.25 to $28.75 as the thrift said it will seek a buyer.

Cellular Communications International Inc. rose $2 to $59.75 after the purchaser and operator of overseas telephone systems' board approved a 3-for-2 stock split for shareholders April 1.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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