Technology shares push stocks higher

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose to all-time highs yesterday as technology shares gained on a slew of good earnings. A slump in telephone stocks and a drop in Microsoft Corp. shares failed to derail the rally.

"Very good earnings reports from technologies are spilling over a bit into the rest of the market," said Jack Bayer, head of trading at Oppenheimer & Co.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.87, to 4,314.70, its 21st high this year, after slipping the previous two days. Chevron Corp., DuPont Co. and International Business Machines Corp. were the biggest gainers. About 1,119 shares advanced and 1,089 fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Microsoft shares closed down $1, at $78.625, after falling as much as $3.25 late yesterday when the software company's proposed acquisition of Intuit Inc. was challenged by the Justice Department on antitrust grounds in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco. Trading in Intuit Inc., which was halted at 1:54 p.m. Eastern time, sent the stock down $10.25, to $72.75. The losses were not enough to squelch rallies in other technology shares, including Intel Corp., Oracle Systems Corp. and Cirrus Logic Inc.


"Everyone was looking for a big correction, and we haven't gotten it," said Anthony Conroy, head of capital market at Global Investment Management Division at Bankers Trust.

Chevron Corp. added $1, to $48, after key regional leaders expressed support for a pipeline that will link oil fields in the Caspian Sea region to a warm-weather export terminal in Turkey. While the pipeline proposal faces obstacles, it would be a major boost for Chevron's Tengiz project.

The broader S&P; 500 index gained 0.89, to 513.55, also an all-time high -- its 23rd so far this year. Electrical equipment, computer systems and long-distance telephone shares led the advance, while regional telephone, health care and drug companies lost.

The technology-laden Nasdaq composite index rose 4.04, to 840.95, its sixth straight advance and second consecutive all-time high. The record high was the index's 11th so far this year.

The Russell 2,000 index of small companies was up 0.81, to 265.7. The Wilshire 5,000 index reached a record high of 5,025.70, up 10.43.

Trading was almost unchanged from Wednesday, at 352.31 million shares.

Long-distance issues rose and some local telephone companies slipped after California utility regulators voted to open the state's $4 billion market for local telephone service to competition. That will allow long-distance and cable companies to enter the Pacific Bell and GTE Corp. turf. Sprint Corp. climbed 87.5 cents, to $32.625, and GTE Corp. slid 12.5 cents, to $33.875.

Chemical companies got a boost on renewed expectations that strong demand for chemicals will continue to boost the companies' earnings. DuPont shares jumped $1.125, to $66.875, after CNBC correspondent Dan Dorfman said an analyst at Salvani Investments sees DuPont's stock rising as high as $100 a share in nine months. Monsanto Co. shares rose $1.25, to $84.25.


On Wednesday, the technology group soared after Toshiba Corp. said it plans to raise computer chip prices, a sign that semiconductor makers may see more robust earnings growth in this quarter. Yesterday, strong earnings led tech stocks higher. Semiconductor maker Cirrus Logic Inc. jumped $8.25, to $49.375, after it announced earnings rose 27 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter.