A harsh chill descended on Wall Street proper today, but it was warm and sunny in the ethereal realm of trading. A lack of blockbuster volume was the lone blight on an advance in which just about everything worked and major averages climbed impressively higher.

Traders pinned hopes on a belief that

Federal Reserve

Chairman

Alan Greenspan

will not say anything to disturb the U.S. economy or the stock market (is there a difference?) during his

Humphrey-Hawkins

testimony tomorrow and Wednesday.

Bond traders took a similar view; the price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 14/32 to 98 15/32, sending its yield down to 5.35% and providing a solid backdrop for the advancing stocks.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

soared as high as 9558.28 before closing up 212.73, or 2.3%, to 9552.68. The close is the Dow's third-highest ever and marks its first above 9400 since

Jan. 12, suggesting to technical analysts the index has broken out of its five-week trading range. The next major hurdle for the index (besides sustaining today's advance) is its all-time high of 9643.32, reached

Jan. 8 .

"They've got the wind at their backs. You're a stone's throw away

from a new high with the Dow Jones divisor the way it is," said Jim Volk, co-head of institutional trading at

D.A. Davidson

in Portland, Ore. "Today proves there's still a lot of money on the sidelines. But in the same breath, they run for the exits the minute things get spooked. I think this is sustainable to a new high, but I don't think it's going to 10,000 in a straight line."

All but two of the Dow's 30 components ended with gains (

Exxon

(XON) - Get Report

and

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

being the laggards), with advancers paced by tech components

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

was also a big gainer, leading a robust performance in financial stocks.

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

was another financial standout, rising 6.5% to a new all-time high of 81. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

rose 3.1% while the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

jumped 5.7%.

Eastman Kodak

(EK)

rose 3.4% on news Germany's

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

is in talks to buy the film giant's office imaging business.

United Technologies

was the other Dow member involved in a merger, acquiring

Sundstrand

(SNS)

for $4.3 billion. Sundstrand surged 17.7% on the news while United Technologies, once as low as 120 1/2, climbed as high as 127 before finishing up 0.9% at a new 52-week high of 126 9/16.

The merger activity, plus speculation Greenspan "wants to keep things on an even keel" encouraged traders, Volk said. "We're back in this low inflation, moderate growth scenario that caused the market to set new highs the last time around. Cyclical stocks are proving people are not concerned about the economy." The

Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index

gained 2.1%.

The

S&P 500

rose 33, or 2.7%, to 1272.22, putting it within spitting distance of its all-time high of 1279.64. Small cap stocks also enjoyed an upturn; the

Russell 2000

rose 5.52, or 1.4%, to 397.82.

'You need a couple of great days to keep it going,' said Everen's Greg Nie. 'Volume needs to be higher and sustainability could be an issue later in the week. Applaud the effort, but am I on board and taking an aggressive stance? Not yet.'

For all the talk about losing their leadership standing, technology stocks were at the epicenter of the advance.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

struggled early but surged thereafter, closing at its apex, up 58.41, or 2.6%, to 2342.01. The smothered-in-tech index was paced by familiar bellwethers such as

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

. The

Nasdaq 100

climbed 3.4%.

Even more impressive were

New York Stock Exchange

-traded tech giants such as

Gateway

(GTW)

,

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

, and

Compaq

(CPQ)

. The

Morgan Stanley High Tech 35

climbed 4.5% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rose 5.3%.

Internet names also stuck to the script.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index climbed 19.78, or 4.2%, to 490.38, led by

Infoseek

(SEEK)

as well as Net heavyweights

America Online

(AOL)

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

climbed 3.29, or 3.5%, to 97.89, paced by

E*Trade

(EGRP)

, which gained 21.1%.

The

Dow Jones Transportation Average

climbed to 97.06, or 3.1%, to 3231.57, led by

FDX

(FDX) - Get Report

, which gained 4.6% on news expenses incurred during talks with its pilots union were less than expected. Additionally,

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

gained 5.3% after being upgraded by

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

. Airlines were strong overall amid speculation of more industry consolidation; the

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

gained 3.2%.

In NYSE trading, a relatively modest 718.5 million shares traded while advancers bested declining stocks by a healthy 1,965 to 1,030. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

activity, 849.3 million shares were exchanged while gainers led 2,153 to 1,850. Giving pause to the celebrants, new 52-week lows led new highs 66 to 45 on the Big Board and by 88 to 38 in over-the-counter trading.

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

"It was welcome and much needed in terms of intermediate-term timing but I would reserve judgment as to whether it's the real thing," said Greg Nie, chief technical analyst at

Everen Securities

in Chicago. "It's a good day, not a great day."

Higher volume and a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 victory by advancers is necessary before the trend can be considered outright bullish, Nie said. Moreover, "you need a couple of great days to keep it going," he said. "There some plausibility some investors are holding back in deference to Greenspan which leaves room to have a couple of great days. But volume needs to be higher and sustainability could be an issue later in the week. Applaud the effort, but am I on board and taking an aggressive stance? Not yet."

Nie agreed the close above 9400 was a key technical victory for the Dow industrials but said 1280 is the level to watch on the S&P 500, not 1250 as proffered by other technicians.

"It's still a question of how, not where," he added. "It's a question of momentum. I'm more interested in breadth and volume as to whether the risk level is diminishing and bulls have the upper hand."

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Utility Average

rose 3.17, or 1.1%, to 298.75 and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

gained 7.46, or 1.1%, to 700.03.

Elsewhere in North American equities, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

leapt 95.01, or 1.5%, to 6504.55 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

jumped 43.06, or 1%, to 4243.18.

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.

)

Gateway hopped 6 7/16, or 8.8%, to 79 5/16 after

Piper Jaffray's

Ashok Kumar upgraded the stock to strong buy from buy and raised its price target to 95 to 100 from 56 a share. The analyst also upped his first-quarter earnings estimate to 90 cents a share from 59 cents and his 1999 forecast to $3.87 from $2.82. In a report, Kumar said the aggressive expansion of Gateway's Country Stores, which focus on consumers and small to medium-sized businesses, will help the PC maker offset a seasonal slowdown. Late Friday, Gateway said it selected Advanced Micro Devices as its second supplier of chips. AMD lifted 1 11/16, or 9.6%, to 19 5/16 while

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, Gateway's top supplier, took in 4 3/4 to 132 13/16.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Beyond.com

(BYND) - Get Report

grew 1 3/4, or 7.1%, to 26 9/16 after announcing it's acquiring

Buydirect.com

, an online software retailer, for about $134 million. Beyond.com expects to complete the transaction by the end of March.

Comverse Technology

(CMVT)

rose 4 1/4, or 6.1%, to 74 1/4 after its

Comverse Network Systems

business announced a contract with the U.K.'s

Orange

(ORNGY)

for systems to support the deployment of the company's "Every Phone" service. Orange added 6 1/4, or 8.7%, to 78 1/8.

Dominion Resources

(D) - Get Report

sliced off 2 1/4, or 5.3%, to 40 after agreeing to buy

Consolidated Natural Gas

(CNG)

for $6.3 billion in stock. Consolidated Natural Gas lowered 1 1/16 to 55 3/16.

KN Energy

(KNE)

picked up 1/8 to 21 5/8 after

Sempra Energy

(SRE) - Get Report

agreed to acquire the company for $1.8 billion in cash and stock. The deal calls for Sempra to assume $4.2 billion in KN Energy debt. Sempra dropped 3/4 to 21 9/16.

NeoPharm Pharmaceuticals

(NEO) - Get Report

fell 1 5/8, or 9.3%, to 15 7/8 despite word that

Pharmacia & Upjohn

(PNU)

will develop and market two cancer products under a licensing agreement. NeoPharm will receive an initial payment of more than $15 million, as well as milestone payments exceeding $50 million during the clinical development. Pharmacia & Upjohn added 3/4 to 54.

Pinkerton

(PKT)

soared 11 11/16, or 69.3%, to an all-time high of 28 9/16 after Sweden's

Securitas

agreed to acquire the company for $384 million in a deal that will create the world's largest full-service security company.

Riddell Sports

(RDL)

kicked up 1/4 to 5 3/4 after announcing it will create

RiddellSports.com

, a joint venture with

Data Broadcasting

(DBCC)

and

Dawntreader Fund I

, to market the company's brands on the Web. Data Broadcasting lost 5/16 to 13 15/16.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

(RBA) - Get Report

jumped 4 1/8, or 15.4%, to an all-time high of 31 after announcing it will acquire the auction business of privately held

Forke Auctioneers

. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Southwest Gas

(SWX) - Get Report

climbed 1 3/4, or 6.6%, to an all-time high of 28 3/8 after saying it received an unsolicited $32-a-share acquisition offer from

Southern Union

(SUG)

. Southern Union lifted 1 13/16, or 10.1%, to 19 3/4.

Telecom Italia

(TI)

rose 3 3/8 to an all-time high of 109 13/16 after hiring four investment banks to fend off a nearly $60 billion hostile bid by

Olivetti

. The firms are

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Credit Suisse First Boston

, Italy's

IMI

and

Lazard Brothers

of Britain.

TSC

contributor

Luca Ciarrocca

filed a

report on the deal today.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Comcast

(CMCSK)

vaulted 5 1/4, or 7.4%, to an all-time high of 76 1/16 even after posting a fourth-quarter loss of 47 cents a share, excluding gains, wider than both the eight-analyst forecast for a loss of 15 cents and the year-ago loss of 21 cents. Perhaps investors were paying attention to the cable company's operating cash flow, which shot up 15% during the quarter.

Marshall Industries

(MI)

sank 3 13/16, or 19.7%, to an annual low of 15 1/2 after warning it sees third-quarter earnings of 14 cents to 17 cents a share due to weaker-than-expected demand and continuing industry-wide pressures on pricing and margins. The four-analyst outlook called for 30 cents.

Mirage Resorts

(MIR)

surged 1 15/16, or 10.3%, to 20 11/16 even after recording fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, 2 cents below the 23-analyst view and behind the year-ago 26 cents. Investors seemed to be focusing more on upgrades of the company to buy from market perform from

BT Alex. Brown

and to buy from hold from

NationsBanc Montgomery Securities

.

Oacis Healthcare

(OCIS)

missed fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 3 cents a share with a profit of 4 cents. But the heath care information systems company also agreed to merge with closely held

Science Applications

in a deal valued at $53 million, sending OCIS up 1 1/8, or 36%, to 4 1/4.

Sun Microsystems took in 7 15/16, or 8.2%, to 104 5/16 after saying at the

BancBoston Robertson Stephens technology conference in San Francisco that revenue growth in its fiscal second half of 1999 will outpace 16% growth in the first half.

In other earnings news:

Offerings and stock actions

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

rose 4 1/8 to 90 after announcing a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Atmel

(ATML)

jumped 2, or 13.3%, to 17 after

SoundView

started coverage with a buy. And

Descartes Systems

(DSGX) - Get Report

added 9/16, or 7.6%, to 7 15/16 after the firm began coverage with a strong buy.

General Instrument

(GIC)

hopped 3 3/16, or 10.1%, to 34 11/16 after SoundView started coverage with a buy.

Scientific-Atlanta

(SFA)

added 1/12, or 5%, to 31 9/16 after the firm started coverage with a strong buy.

Rambus

(RMBS) - Get Report

popped up 9 7/16, or 13.3%, to 80 9/16 after

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

lifted the stock to buy from attractive with a price target of 90 a share.

Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage with a strong buy.

Miscellany

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

flourished 8 11/16, or 12.2%, to an all-time high of 79 3/4 following blowout fourth-quarter earnings last week and on recent analyst comments about the company's potential to grow.

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

flew 2 15/16, or 5.7%, to 54 1/4 after saying it will slash 200 jobs, or 20% of its international commercial-banking workforce, primarily in London.

Biomatrix

(BXM)

brought in 4 11/16, or 9.9%, to 52 3/16 after the

Food and Drug Administration

granted the company approval to ship

Synvisc

, which is used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, from its new 55,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Ridgefield, N.J.

E*Trade, the focus of today's Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

, shot up 8 7/16, or 21.1%, to 48 9/16 after launching an online mutual fund. Elsewhere in online news, AOL grew 12 5/8, or 7.9%, to 173 on news its

CompuServe

unit is expected to unveil a major makeover of its online offerings.

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

jumped 6 9/16, or 10.1%, to an all-time high of 71 3/8 after the

Journal

said it and

Ericsson

(ERICY)

are close to a deal that would end a long-running patent dispute and could aid in resolving a looming international trade conflict over the future of wireless communications. Ericsson rose 1 5/16 to 27 15/16.

Tenneco

(TEN) - Get Report

advanced 1 to 28 3/4 after

Barron's

reported that CEO Dana Mead hopes to sell the company's auto unit for around $4 billion and concentrate on making Tenneco a specialty-packaging titan.

3Com

(COMS)

excelled 1 11/16, or 5.1%, to 34 13/16 after its

Palm Computing

unit unveiled the

Palm V

and the

Palm IIIx

.