The S&P 500 set another new high and the Dow industrials rose just shy of 9,000 on Monday as a late-quarter push into the most popular blue-chip stocks continued.
The Dow rose 52.82 to 8,997.36, nearly posting its first close above 9,000 since June 9. An early afternoon gain of 108 points had put the blue-chip barometer within 160 points of May 13's record close of 9,211.84.
The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at a new high for the third time in four sessions, rising 5.29 to 1,138.49.
The red-hot Nasdaq composite index rose 21.55 to 1,891.08 as the resurgent technology group extended a powerful two-week rebound.
With just a day left to the second quarter and the first half of 1998, the Dow is up 13.8 percent for the year, the S&P 500 is up 17.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite is up 20.4 percent.
Much like last week's rally, Monday's advance was dominated by household names that many money managers like to show in the portfolios when their quarterly reports to shareholders go out.
Among the Dow 30, for example, Disney rose 2 11/16 to 113 3/16, Wal-Mart Stores rose 2 3/8 to 62 1/16, Procter & Gamble rose 1 13/16 to 92 3/16, IBM rose 1 1/8 to 114 1/8 and Merck rose 1 5/16 to 132 3/4. Likewise, Microsoft rose 3 to 107 7/16, Dell Computer rose 1 3/4 to 94 1/8, and Cisco Systems rose 1 15/16 to 91 13/16 to lead the Nasdaq advance.
"You don't lose your job holding these stocks in a rising market," said Michael Metz, a market analyst at CIBC Oppenheimer. "They've been performing, and therefore, the presumption is that they will continue to perform."
Underscoring the recent fixation with the economic crisis in Asia and its impact on American companies, there was precious little talk about a two-day policy meeting at the Federal Reserve that begins Tuesday.
While domestic business activity remains brisk -- a report on Monday showed record levels of new home sales in May -- most observers say the central bank won't raise interest rates to slow the economy as protection against inflation.
"The Fed's hands are more or less tied. You have no inflationary threat and the Asian crisis continues," said Steven Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn., referring to worries that higher U.S. rates would exacerbate Asia's troubles by attracting investment capital away from that region.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3-to-2 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where composite volume totaled 667.30 million shares, topping Friday's sluggish tally of 621.48.
The NYSE composite index rose 2.64 to 580.17, and the American Stock Exchange composite index rose 2.94 to 720.81.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.56 to 453.83.
Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average rose 1.0 percent, Frankfurt's DAX index rose 0.8 percent and London's FT-SE 100 rose 0.1 percent.
Written by Bruce Myerson
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