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8,000 and Counting

July 17, 1997

Although 1,000-point milestones have become common for the Dow Jones industrial average in the 1990s bull market, the psychological effect remains considerable. Wednesday's surge, like many of the other moves, was related to tame inflation and moderate interest rates, as well as continued high corporate earnings. Please see stories on A1 and D6.

Bond Yields Are Falling Again ...

Generic rates, 30-year U.S. Treasury bond:

Wednesday: 6.47%

Recent Dow advances and related events

4,000

Feb. 23, 1995

The Federal Reserve hints that it may be finished tightening credit. Strong corporate earnings growth, surprising gains in worker productivity and small investors' aggressive purchasing of U.S. stock mutual funds all work to drive the market forward.

5,000

Nov. 21, 1995

Modest economic growth, occurring against a backdrop of mild inflation and low interest rates (which slashed borrowing costs for businesses and individuals), pulls the market forward.

6,000

Oct. 14, 1996

The combination of a positive outlook for interest rates and robust early third- quarter earnings reports from Chrysler, Intel and other key corporate names push the market to this milestone.

7,000

Feb. 13, 1997

Government figures showing a modest rise in retail sales help spark a strong rally in bonds, sending long-term yields to their lowest levels since Dec. 30.

8,000

July 16, 1997

Steady U.S. economic growth with low inflation, which has kept interest rates down, provides an ideal backdrop for companies to increase profits, leading investors to celebrate the best corporate earnings since the 1960s and helping to boost the Dow above this mark.

This Year's Leaders and Laggards

Best and worst Dow index performers so far this year:

Best Performers

Wal-Mart Stores: 57.4%

Travelers Group: 51.0

Caterpillar: 50.7

General Electric: 50.2

International Paper: 48.0

Procter & Gamble: 42.6

American Express: 39.6

Hewlett-Packard: 37.3

Coca-Cola: 34.7

AlliedSignal: 34.3

Worst Performers

Sears Roebuck: 22.8

Chevron: 19.3

Philip Morris: 15.5

J.P. Morgan: 13.3

Walt Disney: 13.1

Boeing: 11.7

McDonald's: 10.3

General Motors: --2.5

AT&T: --12.0

Eastman Kodak: --14.8

Sources: Times and wire reports

Researched by JENNIFER OLDHAM/Los Angeles Times

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