SAN FRANCISCO -- And now, for something completely familiar.
Nasdaq Composite Index
yesterday's record closes as investors continued to flock into technology and biotech stocks. Meanwhile, blue-chips struggled as further signs of economic strength and another jump in crude prices kept blue-chip investors focused on the potential for additional
The Russell climbed 10.64, or 1.8%, to 588.35, aided by smaller tech names and rampaging biotech stocks. The
American Stock Exchange Biotech Index
rose 5.4%. Additionally, the Russell's second-straight record close came amid improving breadth and huge volume.
New York Stock Exchange
trading, 1.274 billion shares were exchanged -- the busiest day in NYSE history -- while advancers edged declining stocks 1,558 to 1,481. In
Nasdaq Stock Market
action 2.100 billion shares traded -- the busiest session ever -- while gainers led 2,428 to 1,846. New 52-week lows bested new highs 145 to 119 on the Big Board while new highs routed new lows 511 to 85 in over-the-counter trading.
The Nasdaq rose 87.62, or 1.9%, to 4784.31 behind strength in bellwether names such as
rose another 4.9% amid continued excitement over the IPO of its Palm unit. Additionally,
leapt 13.6% to an all-time high of 130 5/16.
rose 15.5% after making positive comments at the
technology conference here.
Among NYSE tech heavyweights,
leapt 28% amid reports the company has held merger talks with
, which rose 5%.
rose 14.5% after announcing plans to spin off three of its units.
upped its recommendation on the company to buy from neutral.
added another 6% to its already remarkable run after
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
upped its price target. Still, the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
rose just 0.2% to 1172.18 after trading at high as 1190.67.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index rose 16.67, or 1.4%, to 1199.53 while
TheStreet.com New Tech 30
gained 51.32, or 6.6%, to 833.43. Unveiled Jan. 5, the TSC New Tech 30 is a market-cap-weighted index focusing on tracking the so-called hot money part of the market. A list of index components is available at
"It's tech's ball to lose," said John Manley, equity strategist at
Salomon Smith Barney
. "Portfolio managers faced with a tightening Fed are almost forced into tech stocks. If you're running big money you want to own big, liquidity stocks with good growth and positive earnings revisions. There's nothing like tech."
Manley -- admittedly not a momentum investor -- said some of the "outsized" gains in tech seem "irrational" but cautioned against underweighting the group.
"The valuations are very high but sometimes what appears to be excessive is an adequate appreciation of growth," he said. " As long as you keep seeing
earnings numbers that are positive, people will move in that direction. Nothing succeeds like success."
Once again, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
found itself relegated to the backburner of Wall Street's stove. The venerable index closed up 8.07, or 0.1%, to 10,136.38 after spending most of the day in a tight range around breakeven.
In addition to Intel, the Dow got its biggest boost from
, which rose 9.6% on
news the company is considering combining its cell-phone operations with
. BellSouth rose 5.9%.
Timothy Heekin, director of equity trading at
Thomas Weisel Partners
in San Francisco, noted the Dow would have been down if not for SBC's rise. The overall action telecom names, notably Qwest and Lucent, was one of the "big drivers" of a session that otherwise "wasn't great," he said.
"I don't think today was anything extraordinary," Heekin said. "It's totally a rotational market. They continue to want to buy tech and sell big-cap value. Tomorrow you could have the Dow up 200 and Nasdaq down 100, but until I see a real concentrated move where they're knocking the stuffing out of the Comp, that's the only time I'll reverse myself."
rose 12.83, or 0.9%, to 1379.25 as strength in tech favorites, energy and brokerage stocks overcame weakness in retailers, drug makers and cyclical stocks.
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
rose 5.8% after
Salomon Smith Barney
upped estimates and price targets on
Paine Webber Group
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
upped its earning estimates on
, which rose 10.4%.
Another big story of the day was
, up 29% before being halted after
reported the insurer had received a takeover bid from
Wellpoint Health Networks
. Wellpoint was down 8.3% before being halted.
economic news, the
said construction spending rose 2.7% in January, its fastest pace sine June 1998 and wildly ahead of expectations. Also, the
National Association of Purchasing Management's
headline purchasing index hit 56.9 in February and the prices paid component came in at 74.1; both were slightly higher than expectations. Meanwhile,
crude prices rose $1.27 to $31.70 amid conflicting reports about
plans to increase production.
In reaction, the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
rose 6.1% but the price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 9/32 to 101 7/32, its yield rising to 6.15%.
Among other indices, the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
rose 8.91, or 0.4%, to 2397.77; the
Dow Jones Utility Average
fell 1.10, or 0.4%, to 287.38; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
gained 28.72, or 3%, to a record 1001.95.
For coverage of today's top stocks in the news, see the Company Report, published separately