Big Blue helps send blue chips to a record Dow industrials rise 52 points, to 5,459

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose to records for the second straight day yesterday, buoyed by prospects of strong profits at computer and semiconductor companies.

International Business Machines Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. led the gains. Last year, chip makers led the market to its biggest gain in 20 years.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.02 to a record 5,459.61, chalking up a 5.2 percent gain -- more than 240 points -- in two weeks.

IBM's shares rose $2.50 to $114.75, bringing their gain for the year to 26 percent.


Shares of Time Warner Inc., Allstate Corp., Oxford Health Plans Inc. and Inso Corp. also surged after the companies posted stronger-than-expected earnings.

Among the Dow industrials, AlliedSignal Inc. added $1 to reach $52.75 after the aerospace and automotive company posted earnings that met analysts' estimates.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 5.74 to 1,089.08, its second straight high. Intel Corp. led the gains, rising $1 to $59.50.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 4.90 to a record 646.33, led by telephone, semiconductor, computer and food stocks.

Other indexes also reached highs. The Russell 2,000 index of small companies climbed 1.69 to a record 320.15; the American Stock Exchange market value index added 2.69 to a high of 559.96; and the Wilshire 5,000 index soared 44.13 to a record 6,310.44.

Some 1,404 stocks rose and 968 fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 466 million shares changed hands.

For a second day, the Dow industrials, the S&P; 500 and the Nasdaq composite index reached highs in unison, buoyed by a rally in computer and chip issues.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 4.63, or 2.2 percent, to 211.12, its highest level since Dec. 13.


Brightening the outlook on chip stocks yesterday, John M. Geraghty of CS First Boston Corp. raised his opinion on Micron Technology to "buy" from "hold." The stock rose $4.25 to $41.875.

James Barlage of Smith Barney Inc. raised Texas Instruments Inc. to "buy" from "neutral," sending the stock up $1.375 to $54.50. The company makes both chips and computers.

Inso Corp. surged $2 to $47 a day after reporting fourth-quarter profit of 34 cents a share, eclipsing analyst estimates by 10 cents. The software company's stock is up 14 percent in the last two days.

Broderbund Software Inc., meanwhile, tumbled $7.125 to $46 after the maker of entertainment and educational software said it expects earnings in its second quarter ended Feb. 29 to fall below analysts' estimate of 58 cents.

Time Warner reported unexpectedly good fourth-quarter results, sending its stock up $2 to $43.50. And Allstate, a home and auto insurer, climbed $1.375 to $44.375 after it said its earnings more than doubled.

Gannett shares rose $1.25 to $64 after the company said profits exceeded estimates because of strong results from its television and radio business.


Knight-Ridder Inc. soared $2.75 to $68.375 after Investor's Business Daily reported that the media company's financial unit could be bought by Thomson Corp.

Airline stocks soared and helped push the Dow Jones transportation average up 36.59, or 1.9 percent, to 1,991.75. In the last few days, USAir Group Inc., UAL Corp. and Delta Air Lines Inc. boosted fares for the second time in two weeks.

Delta shares jumped $1.625 to $71.875; UAL climbed $1.50 to $163.25; AMR Corp. rose $2.875 to $81; and USAir rose 50 cents to $15.75.

Chase Manhattan Corp. climbed $1.125 to $68.625; Chemical Banking Corp. rose $1 to $66.375; and Mellon Bank Corp. rose 25 cents to $53.25.

Hershey Foods Corp. led the advance in food issues after the maker of candy and pasta announced that it would buy back $200 million of its common stock in three years. Hershey rose $2.375 to $73.625; Sara Lee Corp. gained $1.50 to $34.50; and H.J. Heinz Co. climbed $1.375 to $35.