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Stocks End Higher; Dow Up 85.22

December 17, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks shot higher today, as investors cast aside concerns about the latest U.S. attack on Iraq and the impending presidential impeachment vote.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 85.22 at 8,875.82, reaching its peak in the last minutes of trading.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 34.53 at 2,043.89. Broader stock indicators were generally higher.

Helping stocks was Chase Manhattan, which says it will substantially beat Wall Street earnings expectations for the fourth quarter. Chase rose 6 1/16 at 69 7/8 and several other financial service firms road its coattails, including BankAmerica, up 2 15/16 at 58 13/16, American Express, up 5 1/8 at 98 5/8 and Citigroup, up 2 3/8 to 50.

Investors were also buoyed by a Commerce Department report that showed the international trade deficit fell 1.2 percent in October to $14.2 billion, the lowest level since April. In addition, a Labor Department report showed that the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a six-week low of 296,000, another sign the U.S. economy remains strong.

Oil stocks, which rose Wednesday in anticipation of higher petroleum prices related to the brewing trouble in Iraq, failed to sustain the gains today. Chevron was down 1 5/16 at 82 13/16 and Atlantic Richfield fell 2 1/16 at 63 1/8.

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