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Wal-Mart, IBM Lift Dow to New High

Associated Press
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NEW YORK, Oct. 23 -- Wall Street extended its rally as investors grew more confident about coming earnings reports and as a decline in oil prices bolstered hopes for higher consumer spending. The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 12,100 for the first time and set another record-high close.

The Dow rose 114.54, or 0.95 percent, to 12,116.91. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 8.42, or 0.62 percent, to 1377.02, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 13.26, or 0.57 percent, to 2355.56.

Dow component Wal-Mart Stores, which announced plans to cut capital spending to improve profit, helped the blue chips to their new high as the average's biggest advancer. The Dow's record came just three trading days after its first close past 12,000.

Strength from International Business Machines, Hasbro and Xerox also fed the advance. Just halfway through the third-quarter earnings season, companies' generally upbeat reports have given investors a renewed sense of security.

Monday's gains came despite some concerns about the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting on interest rates, which starts Tuesday. Policymakers are expected to leave interest rates unchanged.

The price of oil, which fell to lows for the year Friday, is making investors more bullish on sectors such as retail, which could benefit if consumers have more spending money.

Movers

Wal-Mart Stores rose $1.91, to $51.28, after saying it plans to bring costs in line with a slowdown in sales and earnings growth.

IBM rose $1.08, to $91.56. It filed two patent-infringement lawsuits against Amazon.com.

AT&T rose 27 cents, to $34.71, after reporting that third-quarter profit rose 74 percent.

Ford Motor fell 11 cents, to $7.90, after posting its largest quarterly loss in more than a decade.

Hasbro rose $2.03, to $25.33, after it reported an 8.2 percent increase in third-quarter profit.

Xerox rose 47 cents, to $16.47, after profit beat analysts' expectations.

Indexes

New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 34.56, to 8736.59.

American Stock Exchange index rose 9.67, to 1946.33.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1.39, to 763.52.

Volume

NYSE: 2.47 billion shares, down from 2.57 billion on Friday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 7 to 5.

Nasdaq: 1.85 billion shares, down from 1.88 billion. Advancers narrowly outnumbered decliners.

Commodities

Crude oil for December delivery: $58.81, down 52 cents.

Gold for current delivery: $579.70 a troy ounce, down from $593.00 on Friday.

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