Stocks extended a month-end rally Thursday, with the S&P; 500 setting a record high and the Dow Jones industrial average briefly moving above 8,000 for the first time since early January.
The Dow rose 57.55 to 7,973 after swinging from an early 32-point loss to a gain of nearly 100 points before pulling back. The blue-chip barometer, up about 275 points this week, hasn’t closed above 8,000 since Dec. 9 and still sits nearly 300 points from its Aug. 6 peak at 8,259.31.
The Standard & Poor’s 500, which came within 8 points of its first foray above 1,000, finished 8.04 higher at 985.50, smashing its Dec. 5 record close of 983.79.
Bolstered in recent days by strong profit reports and a calmer take on the crises in Asia and Washington, stocks drew an additional boost on Thursday from the bond market, where interest rates sank sharply as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan delivered a scheduled report on Capitol Hill.
Greenspan, speaking before the Senate Budget Committee, stuck to his recent emphasis on the Asian economic crisis and its deflationary impact.
Advancers outnumbered decliners by nearly a 2-to-1 margin Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, where more than 754.46 million shares were traded, the fourth-biggest tally ever.
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:
Philip Morris Companies, up 11/16 at 41-5/8.
RJR Nabisco Holdings, down 3/8 at 31-1/8.
Goldman Sachs lowered its rating on the nation’s two largest tobacco companies and removed the stocks from certain priority lists, Dow Jones News Service reported. Analyst Marc Cohen blamed fading earnings momentum and pessimism that Congress will pass the $368.5 billion comprehensive tobacco settlement.
Keebler Foods, up at 26-13/16 from IPO at 24.
The cookie and cracker maker sold 11.6 million shares for $278 million, or $24 each, in an initial public offering.
Hewlett-Packard, down 2-7/8 at 60-1/2.
Merrill Lynch lowered its near-term rating on the maker of computers, printers and related machinery to “neutral” from “accumulate,” Dow Jones News Service reported.
US West Media Group, up 1-13/16 at 29.
AirTouch Communications agreed to a new deal to buy the domestic mobile-phone business of US West Media, five months after the elimination of a federal tax loophole killed an earlier proposal.
Cisco Systems, up 1-7/8 at 63-3/4.
The computer networking company’s stock hit a new high for the second straight day amid news of an alliance with US West and expectations of solid earnings.