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Food, beverage shares lead stocks to record highs

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks reached record highs yesterday for a second straight day, led by rallies in food and beverage issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.41, to an all-time high of 4,011.74, after a 30.28-point jump Thursday that pushed the 30-stock average above 4,000 for the first time in its 99-year history. For the week, it gained 1.5 percent. Shares of Philip Morris Cos., J. P. Morgan & Co. and Coca-Cola Co. led yesterday's advance.

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"We're feeling pretty good about things right now," said Doug Person, vice president at Bridges Investment Counsel. "Rates are stable and possibly trending lower, and it looks like the

economy is slowing but not so much that we're looking at a recession."

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Among broad market indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.35, to a record 488.26, its fourth straight gain. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.27, to 791.08, led by losses in Oracle Systems Corp., Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Apple Computer Inc.

Food and beverage shares rose as the outlook for moderate growth in the economy boosted the attraction of companies that sell consumer staples like soap, soda and corn flakes. Such so-called defensive issues report stable earnings through economic booms and busts.

"If you buy into the theory that the economy is going to slow down, you want to be in those names," said Todd Clark, senior trader at Mabon Securities Corp.

Coca-Cola rose 75 cents, to $54.75; PepsiCo Inc. added 37.5 cents, to $39.625; General Mills Inc. gained $1.125, to $61.375; Ralston-Ralston Purina Group climbed $1.375, to $48; Kellogg Company spurted 37.5 cents, to $54.50; and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. rose 75 cents, to $46.75.

Stocks were little changed for most of the day after a government report showed the economy continues to boom, reviving concern that interest rates may rise. The Commerce Department reported that U.S. factories' orders for durable goods rose a 0.6 percent in January, the third consecutive monthly gain. Wall Street expected a decline of about 0.8 percent.

"All the economic numbers are important now, because everyone is trying to peg the [Federal Reserve's] next move," said Richard Ciardullo, head trader at Liberty Investment Management. The durable goods report shows "the economy isn't easing quite as fast as people would like."

TTC Among the biggest decliners on the day was Sybase Inc., which slumped $2.125, to $42.375, and was the most actively traded stock. Analysts cited concern that costs from the software company's acquisition of Powersoft Corp. could hurt earnings.

Some 1,141 stocks fell for every 1,042 that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 303 million shares traded hands.

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The Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks rose 0.52, to 255.47; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, gained 9.09, to 4,804.47; and the Amex market value index added 1.32, to 450.67.

Auto stocks stalled, partly because of concern about the higher interest rates that accompany a robust economy, traders said. Higher rates make financing cars more expensive. Also, Jack Kirnan, an analyst at Salomon Bros. Inc., lowered his estimate for Chrysler Corp.'s 1995 and 1996 earnings. In a push to sell more cars and minivans, Chrysler is offering more lucrative incentives and cutting into its profits, he wrote in a report.

Shares of General Motors slid 25 cents, to $42.50; Chrysler was unchanged, at $44.375, and Ford Motor Co. rose 12.5 cents, to $26.75, after being down 25 cents for most of the day.

Tobacco stocks rose a second day, meanwhile, after a closely watched trial on the addictiveness of cigarettes ended with a mistrial in Marion County, Ind., on Tuesday.

Shares of Philip Morris rose $1.25, to $60.75, after adding $1.25 Thursday; American Brands Inc. gained 50 cents, to $37.375; and Brooke Group Ltd rose 12.5 cents, to $3.50.

After Sybase, yesterday's most active stocks in U.S. composite trading were Telefonos de Mexico SA's American depositary receipts, Methanex Corp., Apple Computer and Intel Corp.


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