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Broad Rally Powers Indexes Higher

March 17, 2000|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Thursday's broad rally sent the Dow Jones industrial average to its biggest two-day gain since October 1987, ended the Nasdaq composite index's three-day skid and pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 to within 1% of its record.

The Dow rose 499.19, or 4.9%, to 10,630.60; Nasdaq gained 134.77 points, or 2.9%, to 4,717.39; and the S&P climbed 66.32 points, or 4.8%, to 1,458.47.

The Russell 2,000 small-stock index gained 2.8%.

Bonds also rallied, pushing down the yield of the benchmark 30-year Treasury to 6.04% from 6.07% Wednesday.

Among the equity highlights:

* In the financial sector, American Express rose $10.88 to $143.75, J.P. Morgan gained $7.13 to $124.63, Charles Schwab added $1.50 to $50 and City National climbed $4 to $32.06.

* Major drug shares also continued to rally, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, up $5.19 to $55.69; Johnson & Johnson, up $2.88 to $79.81; and Merck, up $5.19 to $65.

* Airline shares surged, including AMR, up $4.94 to $30.56; UAL, up $2.25 to $54.50; and Alaska Air Group, up $2.44 to $32.50.

* But even as old-economy stocks rebounded, many tech shares rose with them. Intel gained $4.88 to $125.06, QLogic soared $20 to $145.94 and Vitesse Semiconductor jumped $6.38 to $89.44.

Biotech shares gained for a second day after slumping early this week. Amgen rallied $6.25 to $64.75, Biogen climbed $8.63 to $86.81, Human Genome surged $7.75 to $131.38 and Corr Therapeutics rose $6.13 to $80.88.

* On the down side, Redback Networks slid $13.81 to $322.19 after the maker of products used for high-speed Internet access said it will sell $500 million of convertible debt.

* Several tech stocks slid on reports of additional shares coming to the market. Be Free fell $3.13 to $43.75 after saying its chief executive and several founders may sell shares. InterNAP Network Services lost $8.81 to $78.38 after saying 17% of its shares will be coming off "lock-up" restrictions. Rare Medium Group sagged $3.56 to $62.63 after selling 3 million additional common shares at $62 each.

* Several stocks rallied on strong earnings reports, including Texas Industries, up $2.31 to $35.13; Ames Department Stores, up $5.25 to $27; Barnes & Noble, up $2.13 to $20.06; Cost Plus, up $3.38 to $28.38; and Tektronix, up $6.38 to $64.50.

Diageo's U.S. shares rose $2.31 to $28 after the food giant said rising liquor sales will boost this year's earnings, and Maxtor advanced $1 to $12.81 after saying it expects to make a small profit in the current quarter.

* Strong analyst ratings helped send Aspen Technology up $9.56 to $45.38, Ecolab up $2.06 to $34.63, Kohl's up $9.44 to $94.63, Linens 'n Things up $1.75 to $28.75, Procom Technology up $8.75 to $55.56, Textron up $4.50 to $59.31 and Whirlpool up $4.38 to $58.44.

* Anchor Gaming rose $3.06 to $39.06 after saying it will buy back an additional 1 million shares of its common stock. Gillette gained $2.25 to $34.94 after saying it will boost its buyback program as well as its dividend.

* Guidant climbed $2.94 to $71.69 after the maker of cardiac rhythm management systems said the Food and Drug Administration has approved its single-sensor pacemaker for release in the U.S.

* Overseas, Japan's Nikkei index rose 0.9%, Germany's DAX jumped 2.3%, Britain's FTSE-100 rose 1.7% and France's CAC-40 gained 1.1%.

Market Roundup, C5

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