The unconsummated

Dow

10,000 fixation notwithstanding, stocks enjoyed a solidly positive session, thanks to leadership in the technology, transport and financial sectors.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the

S&P 500

each set record highs, but the former again stymied media outlets' desire to unleash "Dow 10,000" specials.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

, meanwhile, was the best performer of the most widely followed proxies, closing at its intraday high, up 49.91, or 2.1%, to 2431.44.

The Dow industrial average rose as high as 9970.15 before closing up 82.42, or 0.8%, to 9958.77, besting its

March 11 close of 9897.44. The S&P 500 traveled as high as 1307.54 before closing up 12.67, or 1%, to 1307.26, eclipsing its previous best of 1297.68, also set last Thursday.

"It just seems like it's more important to the media than most traders and investors," said Charles Payne, president at

Wall Street Strategies

, of the five-figure Dow. "But people saying it doesn't mean anything are totally wrong. Investors drive the market and the fact we're going to hit 10,000 is good for investor confidence. It shows momentum is still on our side."

Payne compared the mythical level to a stock split. "It doesn't mean anything officially, but you'd be remiss if you didn't buy one of these stocks that goes up 30 points" on a split, he said. "Hitting 10,000 could be anticlimactic, but the fact we do bodes very well for confidence because it shows we're moving in the right direction."

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

were among the Dow's biggest gainers, joined by technology components

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

.

GE rose 2.6% to an all-time high of 110 1/8 after

Merrill Lynch

reiterated its near- and long-term buy recommendations. J.P. Morgan -- a frequent subject of takeover rumors -- rose 2.8% in the wake of the $16 billion merger between

BankBoston

(BKB)

and

Fleet Financial

(FLT) - Get Report

.

In addition to J.P. Morgan, "all the old rumored stocks in the financial area are out there again," Payne said, citing

Mellon Bank

(MEL)

, up 3.6%, as an example. "Brokers are doing well without all the takeover stuff," he added. "More consolidation is the cherry on top."

A forecast of better-than-expected earnings by

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

fueled gains in the group; the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

gained 3.1%.

Similarly, an effusive earnings forecast by

UAL

(UAL) - Get Report

led the

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

up 7.1%, Paced by the airlines, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

soared 137.14, or 4.2%, to 3404.65, eclipsing 3400 for the first time on an intraday or closing basis since Jan. 8.

"Transports took the show and ran with it," said Robert Harrington, co-head of block trading at

PaineWebber

. "That's pretty much the big story. Plus there's the continuation of the bank consolidation theme and we saw some of the techs participate. It all bodes well for the market. The one group that concerns me is utilities. I'm not looking for them to lead, but they could act a little better."

The

Dow Jones Utility Average

slid 2.55, or 0.8%, to 301.96 despite the bond market's upswing. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 8/32 to 96 4/32, its yield dipping to 5.51%.

The Nasdaq was led by

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

while

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

closed with a flourish. The

Nasdaq 100

rose 2.6%.

In

New York Stock Exchange

trading, IBM and Hewlett-Packard were joined on the upside by

Gateway

(GTW)

and

EMC

(EMC)

. The

Morgan Stanley High Tech 35

rose 2.5%.

Internet proxies also marched higher.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index rose 36.83, or 6.5%, to 604.83, eclipsing its previous all-time high of 588.19, set

Jan. 11.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

gained 4.72, or 4.5%, to 110.19.

CMGI

(CMGI)

was a big positive influence on the DOT, rising 17.5% on news it will replace

Netscape

(NSCP)

in the Nasdaq 100. The

Justice Department

approved Netscape's acquisition by

America Online

(AOL)

, which rose 6.1%.

CMGI's entry into the Nasdaq 100 "not only helps CMGI, but validates the Internet sector," Payne said, noting the "mania psychology" is reasserting itself in Netland.

In addition to CMGI, he observed the recent performance of

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

, which rose 19.6% today following bullish comments by

Friedman Billings Ramsey

and is up more than 100 points since March 4, when it closed at 155 15/16.

Additionally, "second tier" Internet plays are "coming out of left field" to enjoy huge gains, he said, citing examples such as

Bottomline Technologies

(EPAY) - Get Report

, which gained 59.6% and

Winfield Capital

(WCAP)

, up 110%. Winfield Capital is being looked at as the "next CMGI," Payne said.

"Historically, and from a logical point of view, you have to be concerned," he said of the re-emergence of Internet mania and the broad market's narrowness. "Having said that, you still have to participate."

In NYSE trading, 727.3 million shares traded while advancers edged declining stocks 1,525 to 1,441. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

activity 854.8 million shares were exchanged, while losers led 2,066 to 1,858. New 52-week lows led new highs 69 to 58 on the Big Board and by 85 to 80 in over-the-counter trading.

"We do need to see more improvement

in breadth, but in this new era of day trading, not everything is going to line up at every point in time," Harrington said. "I just like that transports acted well and banks are showing leadership."

As for the $64,000 question, the trader said: "10,000 seems to be a matter of time. As we head into 10,000, people might want to lighten up into the strength. But another camp says if you break through

10,000, the move toward 11,000 will be quick."

Among other indices, the

Russell 2000

rose 2.46, or 0.6%, to 400.84, and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

fell 0.30, or 0.04%, to 720.91.

Elsewhere in North American equities, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

gained 43.94, or 0.7%, to 6606.00 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

leapt 72.17, or 1.5%, to 4769.90.

Monday's Company Report

By Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

(

Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

Fleet shed 2 9/16, or 5.7%, to 42 3/16 after agreeing to buy BankBoston for $16 billion in stock. BankBoston added 5/16 to 47 1/4. The deal, announced

last night, values BankBoston shares at $53 each. Under the agreement, BankBoston shareholders will receive 1.18 Fleet shares for each BankBoston share held. The new company will be called

Fleet Boston

and will become the nation's eighth-largest bank.

Word that famed investor

Warren Buffett

dropped his stake in

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

, as implied in his

annual letter to

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRKA:NYSE) shareholders, did nothing -- literally -- to the stock, which close unchanged at 65 15/16. Also not doing much to today's record-setting major indices was this sound bite from Buffett: "Overall, you would have been better off last year if I had regularly snuck off to the movies during market hours."

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Chancellor Media

(AMFM)

rose 1 1/16 to 45 9/16 after ending its merger agreement with

LIN Television

. Chancellor Chairman Thomas O. Hicks, who is also chairman and chief executive of

Hicks Muse Tate & Furst

, was appointed to the additional role of Chancellor chief executive following the resignation of Jeffrey A. Marcus.

BT Alex. Brown

resumed coverage of Chancellor with a strong buy.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

skidded 2, or 7.5%, to 24 3/4 after saying it sees $13 million in expenses from its $980 million purchase of two private optical communication companies:

Lightera Networks

and

Omnia Communications

.

TheStreet.com

had a look at how the deals play out amid ongoing Ciena takeover talk in a

story this afternoon.

Cybershop International

(CYSP)

tumbled 3 9/16, or 27.7%, to 9 5/16 after entering a sales and marketing pact with

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

. Yahoo! tacked on 3 3/8 to 179 7/16.

Dell picked up 1 9/16 to 43 3/4 after announcing it will offer

Dragon System's

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred

speech recognition software through several business units and its new online superstore.

eFax.com

(EFAX) - Get Report

soared 8 11/16, or 67.5%, to an all-time high of 21 5/8 after announcing plans to give free fax-to-email service to members of

Xoom.com

(XMCM)

. Xoom.com lifted 3 to 69 5/8.

El Paso Energy

(EPG)

sloughed off 3 11/16, or 10.3%, to 32 1/16 after agreeing to acquire

Sonat

(SNT)

for $6 billion, including the assumption of $2 billion in debt. Under the deal, each Sonat share will be converted into one share of El Paso Energy stock. Sonat lowered 7/16 to 29 5/8.

Haskel

(HSKL)

vaulted 3 3/8, or 38.9%, to 12 1/16 after agreeing to be acquired by an entity controlled by private investment fund

Tinicum Capital Partners

for $72.8 million.

Lycos hopped up 7 1/16, or 7.1%, to 105 3/4 after Peter Mills, general partner in CMGI's investment arm, said a confederation of third parties that could include CMGI was looking to buy Lycos. Last week, CMGI CEO David Wetherell quit the Lycos board to protest the merger of the company with

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

. CMGI, which will become a component of the Nasdaq 100 at the close of trading Wednesday, grew 28 11/16, or 17.5%, to 192 5/8. CMGI will replace Netscape, which is being acquired by America Online. AOL rose 5 7/8, or 6.1%, to an all-time high of 102; Netscape rose 6 1/16, or 7.1%, to an all-time high of 91; and USA Networks closed flat at 38.

Nissan

(NSANY)

revved up 13/16, or 12.2%, to 7 1/2 after

The Wall Street Journal

reported the company and French automaker

Renault

are in the final stages of a deal whereby Renault would buy a one-third stake in Nissan.

Pioneer Hi-Bred

(PHB) - Get Report

grew 4 1/16, or 11.8%, to 38 3/8 after

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

agreed to buy the 80% of the company it doesn't already own for $7.7 billion -- 45% of which will be in cash and the rest in DuPont stock. DuPont declined 1 1/2 to 56 1/4.

SPR

(SPRI)

tanked 4 13/16, or 50.7%, to an all-time high of 4 3/4 after warning of a first-quarter loss due to an anticipated 30% decline in revenue and one-time costs associated with its merger with

Metamor Worldwide

(MMWW)

, which was cancelled today. Meanwhile, Metamor climbed 2 3/4, or 19.5%, to 16 15/16. The two-analyst view called for SPR to earn 22 cents a share in the first quarter vs. the year-ago 16 cents.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Bacou USA

(BAU)

slid 3 13/16, or 20%, to 15 1/4 after saying it expects to record a first-quarter profit below the year-ago operating income of 36 cents a share. The two-analyst forecast called for 42 cents.

Dillard's

(DDS) - Get Report

lost 3/4 to 25 9/16 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 a share, topping the 14-analyst estimate by a nickel and moving up from the year-ago $1.

Healthcare Recoveries

(HCRI)

plunged 4 9/16, or 53.3%, to an all-time low of 4 after saying it expects first-quarter earnings of 12 cents to 14 cents a share. The six-analyst outlook called for a repeat of the year-ago 18 cents.

Hughes Supply

(HUG)

jumped 3 5/16, or 18.5%, to 21 1/4 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, in line with the six-analyst outlook and a penny ahead of the year-earlier figure. The company also approved the repurchase of up to 2.5 million shares, or 10% of its outstanding stock.

Meritage

(MTH) - Get Report

fell 1 11/16, or 13.3%, to 11 after warning

late Friday that its first-quarter earnings will be "significantly" below the three-analyst forecast for 52 cents a share because of construction delays in Arizona.

Rite-Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

bounced back 2 1/16, or 9.1%, to 24 5/8 after falling 39% Friday on a fourth-quarter profit warning. It did so despite a cut in 2000 and 2001 earnings estimates today by

Lehman Brothers

.

Telewest Communications

(TWSTY)

, Britain's second-largest cable system operator, slipped 2 3/4, or 6.4%, to 40 3/8 on word it's expected to post a 1998 loss.

United Airlines parent UAL swelled 6 11/16, or 10%, to 73 3/4 after saying it expects first-quarter and full-year earnings to beat Wall Street estimates. The company sees quarter earnings around $1.35 a share, above the 10-analyst estimate of $1.12. For 1999, UAL expects to earn $10 to $12 a share, which would top the 11-analyst consensus for $9.12. BT Alex. Brown reiterated its market perform on the stock.

Delta

(DAL) - Get Report

flew 5, or 7.8%, to 69; and

American Airlines

parent

AMR

(AMR)

flew 3 3/4, or 6.5%, to 61 3/4.

Offerings and stock actions

MiniMed

(MNMD)

ended flat at 91 7/8 after setting a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

increased 3/4 to 45 7/16 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

downgraded the stock to neutral from outperform. The company issued a first-quarter earnings warning

Friday .

McKesson HBOC

(MCK) - Get Report

surged 3, or 5%, to 62 5/8 after

Warburg Dillon Read

lifted the stock to buy from hold, saying the stock was oversold from Y2K concerns.

Network Solutions shot up 43 1/2, or 19.6%, to an all-time high of 265 after

Freidman Billings Ramsey

started coverage of the stock with a buy. The company said it reached its 4 millionth cumulative net registration in .com, .net and .org. Elsewhere in Netland, recent issues in the sector continued to rise. Bottomline Technologies, an electronic banking company that went public about a month ago, rocketed up 34 7/16, or 59.6%, to an all-time high of 92 1/4.

Qwest

(QWST)

advanced 4 7/8, or 7%, to an all-time high of 74 9/16 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter upgraded the stock to strong buy from outperform.

Miscellany

Covad Communications

(COVD)

climbed 15 3/4, or 28.6%, to an all-time high of 71 after introducing to the Philadelphia metropolitan area the company's service which provides digital communications services that connect businesses to their Internet Service Providers and employees who work at home to their corporate networks.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

(DLJ)

excelled 3 1/4, or 5.1%, to an all-time high of 67 1/4 after its

DLJ Direct

was rated the No. 1 online broker in

Barron's

over the weekend.

Elsewhere in the sector, Charles Schwab scored 3 15/16 to an all-time high of 87 15/16 after saying it sees first-quarter earnings of 31 cents to 34 cents a share, above the current seven-analyst outlook for 26 cents and the year-ago 16 cents.

Medicis Pharmaceutical

(MRX)

dropped 4 1/2, or 13.8%, to 28 1/8 on no discernible news. The company had no comment on the activity when the New York Stock Exchange asked for a statement.

Onyx Software

(ONXS)

flourished 17 1/8, or 62.6%, to an all-time high of 44 5/8 after CEO and Chairman Brent Frei appeared on

CNBC

this morning. The stock surged 55% Friday after

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage with a buy.

Visx

(VISX)

rallied 11 3/16, or 11.7%, to an all-time high of 106 7/8 following a recent jump in laser vision correction surgery. The company's Star S2 system is used in seven out of 10 surgeries.

As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see Corrections and Clarifications

.