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Market Shrugs Off Clinton Woes

Investors scrambled back into the U.S. stock market Monday, shrugging off President Clinton's testimony to a federal grand jury as well as a Russian currency devaluation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 149.85 points, or 1.8 percent, to 8,574.85, in the barometer's best percentage showing since June 17.

President Clinton, who appeared before a federal grand jury concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, is expected to admit to having had an improper relationship with the former White House intern.

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But the stock market, which last week knew that Mr. Clinton was leaning toward admitting some sort of relationship with Lewinsky, had already factored such an event into share prices.

"I think we've seen the low for the year in the U.S market," said Robert Dickey, managing director of technical research at Dain Rauscher Wessels. "Things got as negative as I've seen them in 10 years. We've seen the worst market breadth over a three-week period since the 1987 crash."

Meanwhile, Russia will allow its currency, the ruble, to float within a range of between 6.0 and 9.5 to the U.S. dollar in what amounts to a de facto devaluation of 34 percent.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 2.2 percent to 14,794.

Monday's U.S. stock advance was narrow in scope, with the broader market once again lagging the gains seen in larger, blue-chip issues. Volume was lackluster.

Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday, as it does every six to eight weeks, to discuss possible changes in interest rate policy. Virtually no one on Wall Street expects the central bank to raise rates, however, what with a moderate-growth U.S. economy and a benign inflationary environment.

In Monday's market highlights:

  • The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.0 percent.
  • New York Stock Exchange winners bested losers by 8 to 7.
  • On the Big Board floor, turnover slackened 8 percent to 587 million shares.
  • The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.6 percent. Declining issues led advancers by 23 to 19 in the Nasdaq Stock Market. Volume totaled 622 million shares.
  • The Russell 2000 Index of small-company stocks rose 0.3 percent.
  • In the bond market, the 30-year Treasury declined 3/32, to yield 5.548 percent.