Tech stocks give market another boost

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose yesterday for a second day as signs of strong demand for Microsoft's Windows 95 software gave technology stocks a lift. Better-than-expected earnings from H. J. Heinz & Co. boosted food companies' shares.

Retailers worldwide have sold at least 4 million copies of Windows 95 since the software was introduced Aug. 24, analysts said. As consumers and businesses adopt the program, they are buying computers based on more powerful semiconductors and adding more sophisticated software. Microsoft's stock rose $2.125, to $97.625, its highest in more than two weeks.


The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 4.22, at 4,704.94, after rising as much as 22.89, to 4,723.61. A round of computer-guided sell orders pared the gain in the last hour of trading, said Birinyi Associates Inc., a research and money management firm.

Food company shares gained after Heinz said earnings in its first quarter, ended Aug. 2, rose 13 percent, aided by sales from recently acquired businesses. Net income rose to $174.5 million, or 70 cents a share. Analysts expected per-share earnings of 69 cents.


S&P; 500, Nasdaq records

Heinz's stock rose 50 cents, to $44.25; Unilever PLC's American depositary receipts climbed $1.125, to $76.50; General Mills Inc. rose 75 cents, to $51.75; Hershey Foods Corp. rose 75 cents, to $61.375; and ConAgra Inc. jumped 50 cents, to $38.

The gain in food and technology stocks helped propel the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index to an all-time high of 573.91, up 1.23. It was the index's 11th advance in 12 sessions and its fifth record in a row.

The technology stock-laden Nasdaq composite index gained 6.53, to a record 1,066.56, after rising 8.95 Friday. The index is up 4.5 percent this month. Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. and Applied Materials Inc. were among the biggest gainers.

About 11 stocks rose for every 10 that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 298.9 million shares traded hands. The three-month daily average volume on the Big Board is 338.2 million shares.

Among broad market indexes, the Russell 2000 index of small capitalization stocks rose 0.48, to a record 314.9; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, rose 17.69 to a record 5,744.48; the Amex market value index jumped 2.96 to an all-time high of 550.35; and the S&P; 400 midcap index climbed 0.65 to a record 217.5.

Yesterday's most active stocks in U.S. composite trading were Intel Corp., IBM, Micron Technology, Microsoft and Aura Systems. Technology stocks, which have led the nine-month rally in stock prices, were helped by growing expectations that semiconductor, software and computer companies will post big earnings gains for the third quarter.