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Stocks jump, turned on by GE Dow industrials rise 127 points amid some good earnings news; Wall Street


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose yesterday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its first gain in six days, after General Electric Co. said its 1999 earnings will meet expectations.

The news from GE, the second-biggest U.S. company by market value, reassured investors after Coca-Cola Co., Merck & Co. and more than 300 other companies warned this month of profit shortfalls. GE Chairman John F. Welch Jr. told analysts late Monday that earnings per share will rise at least 14 percent.

The Dow rose 127.70, or 1.5 percent, to 8,823.30. GE, up $6.3125 at $93.125, accounted for one-fifth of the rise.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 21.63, or 1.9 percent, to 1,162.83. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 45.68, or 2.3 percent, to 2,012.60.

Elsewhere on the broad market, the Russell 2,000 index of

small-capitalization stocks rose 1.63, to 389.59; the Wilshire 5,000 index jumped 167.91, to 10,591.28; the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 1.88, to 646.11; and the S&P; 400 midcap index added 3.14, to 347.26.

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index of the top 100 Maryland stocks edged up 0.04, to 187.70.

Sixteen stocks rose for every 15 that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume on the Big Board totaled 777 million shares, above the daily average of 742 million shares for the past three months.

Microsoft Corp., the biggest U.S. company by market value, rose $3.9375, to $131.875, as investors bought the stock after its $6.0625 drop Monday.

Takeover news boosted General Instrument Corp., Coltec Industries Inc., Southwest Gas Corp., Enron Oil & Gas Co. and Petersen Cos.

General Instrument climbed $3.5625, to $34.125, and was the biggest gainer in the S&P; 500, after people familiar with the negotiations said Royal Philips Electronics NV, Europe's largest consumer electronics maker, is in talks to buy or form a joint venture with the largest U.S. maker of cable TV set-top boxes.

Coltec rose $2, to $18.6875, after Crane Co. offered to buy the maker of airplane parts for $2.02 billion and filed a lawsuit seeking to block BFGoodrich's agreement to purchase Coltec for $1.77 billion. Both Crane and Goodrich want to buy Coltec, the largest U.S. maker of landing gear for airplanes, to increase their share of the market for airplane parts.

Southwest Gas advanced $2.3125, to $26.0625. Oneok Inc., a Tulsa, Okla.-based natural gas utility, said it is buying Southwest Gas for $1.8 billion in cash and assumed debt to expand in the Western United States. Oneok is paying $28.50 a share, a 20 percent premium over Southwest's closing price Monday of $23.75.

Petersen Cos., the U.S. publisher of magazines such as Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Guns & Ammo and Teen, jumped $2.1875, to $33.50. Emap PLC, Britain's No. 2 consumer magazine publisher, agreed to buy Petersen for $1.2 billion, or $34 per share, a 46 Percent premium over Petersen's closing price Monday.

Enron Oil & Gas Co. shares rose $2.125, to $15, after Enron Corp. said it received an offer to buy its stake in the oil and gas production company. Enron owns 53.5 percent of Enron Oil & Gas.

Caterpillar Inc., Eastman Chemical Co. and Idex Corp. declined after warning that profits won't match estimates. Caterpillar, the world's top maker of construction equipment, fell $1.8125, to $44.4375; Eastman Chemical, which makes plastics used in soda bottles, sank $10.75, to $46.125; and Idex, a marketer of &L; industrial pumps, fell $4.125, to $26.125.

InfoSpace.com Inc. which provides maps, directories and stock quotes for Internet sites, rose $5, to $20, when trading started after Monday's initial stock sale at $15 a share.

L Online bookseller Amazon.com Inc. soared $20.50, to $242.75.

Sun Microsystems Inc. gained $3.875, to $80.125. The No. 1 maker of computer workstations and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said they're developing Java software to make it easier for digital electronic appliances to link up with PCs.

Chevron Corp. fell $2.6875, to $83, taking 11 points off the Dow average. On Monday, Royal Dutch/Shell Group damped speculation on the possibility of a bid for the rival oil company.

Pub Date: 12/16/98

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