The Nasdaq composite index soared to a new high today as investors snapped up shares of Internet companies and computer software makers. The swing toward technology stocks came at the expense of industrial stocks, which finished mostly lower.
The Nasdaq rose 35.01 to close at 2887.03, surpassing its previous closing high of 2864.48, set July 16. For the year, the Nasdaq has gained 31.7 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average couldn't match that performance today, falling 50.97 to close at 11,028.43. For the week, the Dow lost 50.02, or 0.5 percent. For the year the average is up 20.1 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 4 to 1351.66.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 6 to 5 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume totaled 808.5 million shares, compared with 773.9 million in the previous session.
The Nasdaq's strength came from hefty gains by online auction house eBay, up 13-9/16 to 158, and Internet search provider Yahoo, up 7-13/16 to 170 1/2. Software companies also gained ground with Microsoft up 15/16 to 95 and Oracle rising 2-5/16 to 46 3/8.
Traders suggested Thursday's unofficial test run for year 2000 computer glitches may have alleviated concerns about computer-related companies. Some programmers had feared that the nines in Thursday's date--9-9-99--would cause computer programs to fail. But with no major problems reported, programmers and Wall Street professionals alike gained confidence that Jan. 1, 2000, will pass without difficulty.
Stocks also benefited from a government report of a drop in wholesale prices, which eased investor concerns about higher interest rates.
But while most stocks rose, the big industrial companies that dominate the Dow fell. Caterpillar tumbled 2 to 56 3/4, and Chevron, which rose throughout the week as crude oil prices improved, fell 1-13/16 to 95 3/4 as investors took profits.
Maytag plunged 14-9/16 to 42 after the appliance maker said its third-quarter earnings will miss Wall Street analysts' estimates because of weak sales of its lower-priced goods.
"Most of the market came through this week fairly unscathed," Hogan said. "But until we hear from the Fed, there's still resistance against taking the entire market to new highs."