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Wild Ride On Wall Street

In a triple-witching session characterized by choppy trading and astounding volume, the major indices ended firmly in the black Friday, though late-day sellers emerged to take the Dow Industrials off its record highs.

Investors showed no signs of losing their appetite for tech shares, even as bond yields remained at two-year highs. Market participants noted that the market's narrow and breathtaking run-up was extremely seasonal in nature.

Triple-witching, which sees the expiration of futures, options on indexes and options on individual stocks, was behind the mammoth volume Friday. Big Board volume this week breached the one billion mark for four straight sessions.

Players are selling everything else in the market to buy tech shares and ignoring the interest rate environment, said Barry Hyman, chief market strategist at Ehrenkrantz King Nassbaum.With the tech sector enjoying such extreme momentum, nobody wants to be the first to jump off the bandwagon, he added.

"Fund managers are under pressure to own the winners. It's a game of follow the leader," echoed Alan Skrainka, chief market analyst at Edward Jones.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 12.54 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,257.43 after touching a record high of 11,383.74 in intra-day trading, blasting through its previous intra-day high of 11,365.93 set on Aug. 25.

The storied index was supported by gains in Intel, DuPont, Alcoa, International Paper and General Electric.

Microsoft reached a new 52-week high of 117 1/8 and ended up 1 9/16 to 115 1/4. Home Depot also set a 52-week high of 98 5/8 and closed up 1 5/16 to 98, as did Alcoa, which rose to 80 7/8 and ended up 1 11/16 to 77 15/16.

Shares of General Electric rose 3 7/8 to 15 1/2 and hit a 52-week high of 154 3/4 after announcing a 3-for-1 stock split. It will be the company's third stock split in the past six years.

"Believe it or not, NYSE stocks remain quite oversold thanks to a wide disparity of declining versus advancing shares over the past 1-2 weeks," Belski noted.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 38.00 points, or 1.0 percent, to 3,753.06 but ended about 43 points off its session highs. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.2 percent while the Russell 2000 Index of small-capitalization stocks also gained 0.2 percent.

A total of 1.36 billion shares changed hands on the Big Board -- a record -- while 1.55 billion traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Market internals remained weak, despite the run-up in the major averages. Winners bested losers by 17 to 14 on the NYSE while advancers matched decliners on the Nasdaq. In addition, only 49 new highs were set on the NYSE, compared to a whopping 250 new lows. On the Nasdaq, 179 new 52-week highs were set compared to 102 lows.