Nasdaq pushes on as others drop back; Internet, technology firms boost index to 7th straight record; Dow off 23 points


Internet and technology stocks stole the show once again on Wall Street, lifting the Nasdaq composite index yesterday to its seventh consecutive record high yesterday.

The Nasdaq index jumped 40.18, or 1.7 percent, to 2,384.59.

Intel Corp. led the Nasdaq upward, climbing $10.0625 to a record $139.75. After a surge in holiday computer buying, analysts expect the world's biggest computer-chip maker to report a profit of $1.07 a share, up from 96 cents a year earlier. That would beat Intel's own optimistic forecasts.

But that was the only bright spot in the stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average and most broader indexes fell as investors cashed in on last week's sharp gains.

The Dow finished down 23.43, to 9,619.89, after rebounding from an 111-point loss. Merck & Co., which gained more than 4 percent last week, led the Dow lower, falling $3.125, to $150.6875.

Maryland index rose

The S&P; 500 declined 11.21, to 1,263.88.

Among other major indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small-cap stocks rose 1.90, to 433.13; the Wilshire 5,000 index skidded 58.55, to 11,643.54; the American Stock Exchange composite index slipped 0.44, to 707.32; and the S&P; 400 midcap index lost 3.02, to 388.14.

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index of the top 100 Maryland stocks gained 0.33, to 197.54.

Almost two stocks fell for every one that gained on the New York Stock Exchange in trading of 818 million shares.

Internet shares surged. Online brokerage E Trade Group Inc. jumped $20.875 to a record $88.50 after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss for its fiscal first quarter., the online bookseller, rose $24.375 to a record $184.625.

Yahoo! Inc. rocketed $70.875, to $414.50, also a record, after the Internet directory said it signed a distribution agreement with International Business Machines Corp. to make the service available through IBM's new Aptiva computers. Yahoo!, one of the few Internet companies that earns a profit, is due to issue its quarterly earnings report today.

Compaq acquisition

Infoseek, another Web portal, rose $32.525, to $87.75. jumped $5.4063, to $18.5938, after Compaq Computer Corp. agreed to buy it for $220 million to move into online commerce. Compaq, the world's second-largest computer company, rose $2.875, to $48.25.

Dell Computer Corp. closed up $4.1875, at $82.

America Online Inc. gained $18.625 to a record $165.125 after analyst Jonathan Cohen at Merrill Lynch & Co. said shares of the No. 1 online service could reach $195 in the next 12 months. Cohen reiterated his near-term "buy" rating on AOL.

Campbell Soup Co. fell $6.875, to $45.375, its biggest decline since 1980, after the world's largest maker of soup said fiscal 1999 earnings will probably fall short of analysts' expectations as the company cuts costs and reduces its domestic shipments of condensed soup.

$16 billion deal

Drug company shares, among the top performers last year, fell for the third day. Pfizer Inc. lost $4.50, to $117.75, and Schering-Plough Corp. dropped $2.125, to $52.75.

Telecommunications equipment maker Ascend Communications Inc. gained $5.25, to $76.6875, after the Financial Times reported that Lucent Technologies Inc., the world's biggest phone-equipment maker, offered to buy it for more than $16 billion.

Lucent and Ascend officials declined to comment. Lucent fell $2.375, to $112.875.

General Motors Corp. rallied $6, to $86.0625, after J. P. Morgan Securities Inc. analyst David Bradley raised his 1999 earnings estimate for the automaker to $8.75 a share from $8.40.

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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