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Dow Charges Toward Record Close

May 1, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks charged back toward record levels today as the market’s sudden bout of interest rate jitters continued to fade with another day of favorable economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 83 points to 9,147, a gain of nearly 200 points in two days and less than 40 points shy of last Tuesday’s closing record of 9,184.94.

Broader stock indexes also extended Thursday’s rally as a series of reports on manufacturing, construction, and personal income and spending reinforced arguments that the economy isn’t growing at an inflationary pace.

Stocks tumbled on Monday amid reports that the Federal Reserve was now prepared to raise its key lending rates to prevent an inflationary spurt.

The market rallied back on Thursday, however, after a report showing that employment costs _ the dominant force behind inflation _ rose only moderately in the first three months of the year.

Banking companies posted big gains today as takeover speculation heated up again in that sector amid news reports that BankBoston and Fleet Financial Group recently discussed a possible merger. American Express and J.P. Morgan helped lead the Dow’s advance, along with Chevron and Exxon.

Overseas, Tokyo’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.3 percent, and London’s FT-SE 100 rose up 1.4 percent. Markets were closed for a holiday in Frankfurt.

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