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Nasdaq, S&P Hit Highs; Dow Nears Record

April 27, 1999| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Renewed strength in technology shares took the Nasdaq composite index easily into record territory Monday, extending a hearty rebound from the recent plunge.

Blue chips also rose, with the Dow industrials moving within 9 points of a new high and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index setting a record.

The Nasdaq composite, heavily weighted in tech shares, rose 61.36 points, or 2.4%, to 2,652.05, its first close above 2,600 as it cruised past its previous high of 2,598.81, set April 12.

The Dow added 28.92 points to 10,718.59 after wobbling in a narrow range throughout the day.

The S&P 500 inched up 3.19 points to 1,360.04, topping Thursday's record of 1,358.82, even though falling stocks had a slight edge over winners on the New York Stock Exchange in modest trading.

In a rare departure from the normal scramble on Wall Street, trading was halted for one minute of silence at noon on the NYSE, American Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Chicago Mercantile Exchange in memory of the Colorado high school shooting victims.

Tech stocks were back in the limelight as investors digested encouraging data on personal computer sales. Market research firm International Data found that worldwide PC shipments rose 19% in the first three months of the year, while Dataquest reported an increase of 17%.

The reports, along with expectations that important Internet companies would report strong earnings, prompted aggressive buying of tech stocks again.

"The speculation in technology stocks continues to be the dominant theme," said Ricky Harrington, technical analyst at Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C. "It goes away for a while, but then it comes right back."

Dell Computer jumped $1.81 to $44.81 and Compaq added 75 cents to $23.88. IBM surged $10.13 to $209.88 and Apple rose $1.75 to $40.94.

Meanwhile, some "cyclical" shares also gained. They had rocketed two weeks ago on faith that the world economy is improving, and that belief remains strong on Wall Street, said Tony Dwyer, chief equity strategist at Ladenburg Thalmann & Co.

3M rose $1.06 to $81.88; Caterpillar gained $1.44 to $62.

Among Monday's highlights:

* Many Internet stocks had a good day. Shares of EBay climbed $8.88 to $209 on anticipation that the online auction company would report strong earnings--which it did after the close.

* Bank stocks were hit by profit-taking. Citigroup shed $1.06 to $73.81 and J.P. Morgan lost $5.13 to $134.44.

* Oil stocks slid as oil prices backed off. Exxon lost 63 cents to $77.69.

Market Roundup, C12

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