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Technology Stocks Remain Strong; Dow Nears Record

September 21, 1996|From Times Wire Services

Stocks were mostly higher Friday, lifting some measures to record highs, but the buying was restrained as many investors awaited next week's Federal Reserve Board meeting on interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.72 points to 5,888.46, closing less than a point from Monday's record high close of 5,889.20. The blue-chip index, which last Friday notched its first new high in nearly four months, gained 49.94 points for the week.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock list and the New York Stock Exchange composite index both set new highs on Friday, and the Nasdaq composite index rose for an 11th straight session, led again by bellwether technology issues.

The session was unusually brisk as traders repositioned their complex investing strategies amid Friday's "triple witching" expiration of stock-related options and futures contracts.

Despite the volume, however, uncertainty continued over whether Fed policymakers will raise the central bank's key lending rates when they meet on Tuesday. The yield on most bonds barely budged Friday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by an 11-7 margin on the NYSE, where volume totaled 514.33 million shares, the first tally above 500 million since mid-July.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 4.03 points to 687.03, and the NYSE composite index rose 1.83 points to 365.77. Both surpassed Monday's record closes.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 7.60 points to 1,219.69, putting it about 30 points from its June 5 high of 1,249.15. The advance was again led by its bellwether technology issues, demonstrating investors' continuing reluctance to bet heavily on the more speculative issues that dominate Nasdaq.

Intel rose 3/8 to 97 3/8 on continuing enthusiasm over its upbeat revenue forecast on Monday, and Microsoft advanced 3/8 to 138 1/8 despite news that the Justice Department has begun an antitrust investigation into the company's Internet strategy.

Microsoft arch-competitor Netscape Communications jumped 5 3/8 to 50 7/8.

Among market highlights:

* General Motors' H-class shares, reflecting the auto maker's Hughes Electronics division, rose 2 1/2 to 60 1/4 on news that it will buy satellite operator PanAmSat in a $3-billion deal. PanAmSat slipped 1/8 to 27 5/8.

* Among stocks making their Wall Street debut, Applied Analytical Industries, a contract research organization, surged 5 5/8 to 21 5/8, and Houston Exploration, a unit of Brooklyn Union Gas, rose 1 1/2 to 17.

Market Roundup, D4

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