Stocks Shoot Higher; Dow Up 43.35
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose toward record levels today as financial shares rallied after a strong endorsement of the Travelers Group-Citicorp merger by Merrill Lynch.
At 2 p.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 43.35 at 9,128.39, about 80 points from May 13′s record of 9,211.84. On Tuesday, the Dow rose as much as 59 points before retreating to a 6-point loss.
Broader stock indexes were also posting modest gains thanks to the blue-chip advance, but declining issues outnumbered advancers overall.
Travelers jumped 4 1/4 to 68 13/16 to lead the Dow after a Merrill Lynch analyst issued an upbeat assessment of Citigroup, the new company to be formed by the impending merger with Citicorp, which surged 9 3/4 to 170 1/4 today.
J.P. Morgan, a frequent focal point of the merger speculation spurred by the Travelers deal, rose 2 3/16 to 124 7/8 as the Dow’s second biggest gainer.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 5.63 at 1,160.29, erasing Tuesday’s loss and pushing back into record terrain. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was up 14.22 at 1,922.33.
Advancing issues barely outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, while decliners held the lead in Nasdaq trading. NYSE Volume came to 391.70 million shares, down slightly from Tuesday’s pace.
The NYSE composite index was up 2.32 at 592.08, working on its third record high in four sessions.
Those indexes dominated by small companies were slightly lower. The Russell 2000 was down 0.46 at 458.58, and the American Stock Exchange composite was down 1.19 at 726.77.
Overseas, Tokyo’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.7 percent, Frankfurt’s DAX index rose 0.8 percent and London’s FT-SE 100 rose 0.1 percent.