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Dow Back Above 11,000 as Wall Street
Enjoys Broad Rally

Associated Press
NEW YORK — Stocks moved broadly higher today, led by another advance in high-tech issues, as Microsoft surged on hopes that the software maker and the government may soon resolve their longstanding antitrust case.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 253.16 at 11,119.86, according to preliminary figures, while the Nasaq composite index rose 75.94 to 4,940.69.

The S&P; 500, which passed 1,500 and reached a new closing high Wednesday, gained another 26.71 to 1,527.35.

The rally also lifted industrial blue chips as fund managers scrambled to put their cash to work in the stock market before the end of the first quarter next week.

"It's been a very strong quarter in terms of tech stocks as well as flows into mutual funds, so there's a lot of pressure on fund managers to be fully invested by the end of the quarter," said Ricky Harrington, technical analyst at Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C.

But the real stars of the day were once again the major high-tech shares, which shot higher from the opening following a report in The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft and the government are accelerating their talks toward settling a wide-ranging antitrust suit. Microsoft closed up 8 5/8 at 112.

Other technology bellwethers also rose. Shares in network equipment maker Cisco Systems rose, along with Oracle, a major business software company.

Brian G. Belski, chief investment strategist at George K. Baum & Co., in Kansas City, said the big moves by tech leaders over the past few days have been spilling over into smaller tech companies as well.

"Microsoft, Cisco and Intel have been very strong over the past few days, and some investors have started to think that they're missing something," Belski said.

The main exception to the rally was chip maker Intel, which came off its highs as investors collected some of the stunning 75 percent gains the stock has seen since the beginning of this year.

A sharp rally in the bond market was also making its presence felt on Wall Street. With fewer places to put their money and long-term bond yields now well below 6 percent, fund managers were looking again at stocks to buy in order to put their cash to work by the end of the quarter.

The runup in the Treasury market was all the more remarkable since it came on the heels of Tuesday's rate increase by the Federal Reserve. The Fed has also indicated it intends to raise rates more, but bond traders appear to be unfazed.

"The bond market is out of control," said Harrington. "Despite what the Fed has done so far, there's still so much money out there. Momentum and money flow are driving this market."

For more information on this story, search thousands of newspapers, magazines, journals, and newswires at Powerize.com

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