Stock Market Leaves Troubles Behind

SAN FRANCISCO (04/19/2000) - Last week's stock market losses felt further and further away today as the Nasdaq soared another 7 percent, starting strong in the morning and never looking back. Today's rise follows a 7 percent gain yesterday, undoing Friday's nerve-racking drop. The Dow joined in the upswing, gaining almost 2 percent, or 184.91, to close at 10767.42.

The Nasdaq gained 254.41, bringing the index to 3793.57. Recent concerns over inflation and interest rates seemed to fade into the background for the second day in a row as bargain hunters and market optimists forged ahead to buy.

Indeed, anyone who had followed the "buy-on-dips" gospel last week was rewarded once again. Large-cap companies claimed much of the credit for the jump.

IBM and Intel rose in anticipation of positive profits and earnings news; both companies were to announce results after today's market close. IBM was up 3 percent to $115.12, and Intel gained 5 percent to $129. Their large-cap peers were solidly up, as well, with Lucent Technologies rising 9 percent to $59.12, Cisco Systems up 4 percent to $69.25 and Sun Microsystems up 8 percent to $92.06.

Oracle rose 5 percent to $78.93. Microsoft gained an impressive 6 percent on news that it would introduce a pocket computer to rival the Palm personal assistant. Palm's stock also enjoyed a gain today, going up 9 percent to close at $31. And Micron Technology enjoyed another bullish day, gaining 12 percent after it received kind words from Wall Street analysts. The stock closed at $127.75. Today's market had some big Internet gainers, as well, with Priceline.com up 23 percent to $64 and Inktomi up 26 percent to $116.

Amazon.com gained 16 percent to $54.93, and eBay was up 13 percent to $162.93.

Yahoo was another gainer, rising 10 percent to $126.68. The business-to-business sector also had a revival today, led by FreeMarkets, a company with a record that testifies to the market's recent volatility.

FreeMarkets - which reached its all-time high of $370 in January and hit a low of $39.50 just last week - gained 36 percent today on news of higher sales and smaller-than-expected losses. The stock closed at $72. Sector mate Ariba was up 19 percent to $64.75, and Commerce One gained 17 percent to $82.37. Red Hat was up 21 percent, closing at $29.50. AT&T led the Dow up today, rising 8 percent to close at $50.87. Johnson & Johnson climbed 5 percent to $81.50 on news of soaring profits. Expectations of profits also sent Pfizer up - it gained 4 percent to close at $39.56.

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