NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rallied a third day yesterday, briefly reaching a new peak, as interest rates tumbled to their lowest point since early 1994.
Oil, computer, financial, entertainment and electrical equipment stocks posted the biggest gains.
At one stage, the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 stocks rose 52.02, to a new high of 4,816.9, surpassing a previous peak set Sept. 13, before closing at 4,793.78, up 28.9. New York Stock Exchange limits on some computer-guided trades were triggered late in the afternoon. For the week, the Dow gained 24.57.
The yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond slid to 6.3 percent after the Labor Department said consumer prices in September rose just 0.1 percent, beneath economists' forecasts.
In the broader market, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.40, to 584.50, after setting a record session high of 587.39. The S&P; 500, the most widely accepted benchmark of the market, represents 74 percent of the total value of all U.S. stocks.
The Wilshire 5000 index swelled 25.67, to 5,785.1, and the Russell 2000 index of small-company shares grew 1.45, to 302.07.
Oil stocks that pay a relatively high dividend rallied as interest rates fell, making their high yields relatively more attractive, and as the price of West Texas oil for delivery next month rose 29 cents, to $17.41 a barrel.
The stocks also were the focus of an annual conference sponsored by the National Association of Petroleum Investment Analysts in San Antonio, Texas.
Exxon rose $1.75, to $74.75; Amoco Corp. added 50 cents, to $63.75; Mobil Corp. gained 50 cents, to $99.75; and Texaco Inc. climbed $1.625, to $67.
More than 15 stocks rose in price for every eight that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 374 million, up from 343.9 million yesterday.
The Nasdaq composite index added 2.75, to 1,018.38.
A string of companies announced earnings yesterday that either matched or overran estimates. W.W. Grainger Inc. jumped $2, to $61.875; Triquent Semiconductor Inc. surged $2.75, to $24.875; Madge Networks NV climbed $2.75, to $33.375; Dallas Semiconductor Corp. rose $1.375, to $21.625; and Burr-Brown Corp. climbed $2.25, to $34.25.
They added to a growing number of companies that have reported third-quarter earnings ahead of analysts' expectations.
Of the 72 companies in the S&P; 500 that have so far reported earnings, 52.8 percent beat forecasts and 36.1 percent lagged. Just four days ago, only 44.7 percent of companies exceeded estimates while 39.5 percent fell short.
Stocks that react the most to lower rates, such as bank, insurance and other financial-service companies, rose in response to the bond market rally.
Among banks, First Union Corp. climbed 87.5 cents, to $53.875; Fleet Financial Group Inc. spurted $1, to $40.25; CoreStates Financial Corp. rose $1, to $38.75; Shawmut National Corp. advanced 87.5 cents, to $35.625; Citicorp rose 25 cents, to $72.50; and BankAmerica Corp. gained 25 cents, to $63.50.
Financial-service stocks extended a four-day advance. Federal National Mortgage Association spurted $1.50, to $110.625; Student Loan Marketing Association climbed $1.25, to $61; Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. rose $1.375, to $74; and MBNA Corp. increased $1.375, to $43.
Personal-computer stocks surged as Morgan Stanley & Co. and Prudential Securities raised their investment opinions on Digital Equipment Corp., in part because of forecasts of rising demand for its computer servers.
DEC jumped $3.25, to $49.375; Compaq Computer Corp., which will release earnings Tuesday, climbed 75 cents, to $49.125; Apple Computer Inc., which reports Wednesday, added 68.75 cents, to $36; Hewlett-Packard Co. added 62.5 cents, to $83.375; and Sun Microsystems Inc., raised to "buy" from "market performer" at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, vaulted $2.6875, to $59.9375.