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Dow Tops 9,900 but Ends at 9,897.44

March 11, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Dow industrials shot within striking distance of 10,000 Thursday, breaking through both 9,800 and 9,900 for the first time before giving up some of their gains.

A rebound in oil prices from 12-year lows, which has lifted oil stocks, and continued strength in the economy have been propelling the stock market to new heights.

The Dow Jones industrial average got as high as 9,935.46 in the afternoon, within 65 points of 10,000. It finished the day up 124.60, or by 1.3 percent, at 9,897.44. That put it within 103 points of the five-digit milestone.

Trading was above the heavy volume of Wednesday, when both the Dow and Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed at new highs.

The S&P 500 also extended its record-shattering gains Thursday, approaching 1,300. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose, but still was around 100 points below the record 2,510.09 it set Feb. 1.

The Standard & Poor’s rose 11.29 to 1,298.13, and the Nasdaq rose 6.24 at 2,412.24

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 7-to-5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,747 up and 1,257 down and 563 unchanged.

NYSE volume totaled 902.62 million shares as of 4 p.m., vs. 832.59 million in the previous session.

The NYSE composite index rose 5.19 to 611.67 , and the American Stock Exchange composite index rose 6.51 to 721.65

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 0.04 to 401.08.

Oil stocks were sharply higher, following reports that leading exporting nations are close to agreement on production cuts in a bid to shore up prices. Oil prices have been rising steadily for over a week, recovering from 12-year lows and pushing oil stocks higher.

That helped the Dow, which includes Chevron, which was up more than 1 , and Exxon, which rose about 1 1/2.

The biggest Dow gainer was soft-drink maker Coca-Cola, which rose more than 3 after an analyst from Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities raised his investment opinion of the stock.

Investor interest in the magical 10,000 mark for the Dow also seemed to be feeding on itself.

``In the short term, at the margins, traders feel its inevitable that we will go to 10,000 and they are playing that dynamic to push the Dow higher,″ said Richard Cripps, chief market strategist for Legg Mason of Baltimore.

For the first time in years, the broad stock indicators were driven higher even without a surge in technology stocks.

``The more sectors that participate in a market advance is a sign the market looks very good,″ Cripps said.

But Cripps cautioned that many small cap stocks are still struggling, as evidence by the Russell 2000 measure falling 0.56 to 400.56

Helping today’s rally was new retail sales data showing the U.S. economy is growing without any inflationary threats. Since there are no signs that the economy is overheating, investors believe that the Federal Reserve Board will have little reason to boost interest rates in coming months.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales_ which represent about a third of the nation’s economic output _ rose 0.9 percent gain last month to a seasonally adjusted $236.5 billion. That came on top of robust gains in January and December.

Separately today, the Labor Department said today that first-time claims for unemployment checks remained under 300,000 for the sixth consecutive week for the first time since 1974.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.14 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.7 percent, Britain’s FT-SE 100 rose 1.5 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.5 percent.

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