Stocks rose as a fresh round of optimism about Internet shares drove the technology sector higher and ultimately lifted the broad market out of an early slump.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 19.57 at 11,244.89. The blue-chip index spent most of the day in negative territory, falling as much as 100 points early on.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 93.11, to 3715.06, setting its 24th new closing record since Oct. 29, and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 5.46, to 1418.78.
Internet stocks rose sharply a day after CMGI Inc. announced a 2-for-1 stock split and reported fiscal first-quarter results that easily exceeded analysts' expectations. CMGI rose 21-13/16, to 221-9/16, as of 5:45 p.m.
Trading activity was stimulated by the latest alliances between old-line retailers and highflying technology companies. America Online and Wal-Mart announced a long-rumored deal that will create a new Internet service provider aimed at customers who don't currently have Internet access. The announcement came a day after Kmart disclosed a similar venture with Yahoo. AOL shares fell 3 3/4, to 85 7/8, and Wal-Mart rose 2-39/64, to 68 5/8.
Microsoft and the electronics retailer Best Buy announced a deal of their own, which will allow Microsoft to sell its Internet service and products in Best Buy stores. Microsoft rose 5 1/4, to 113-11/16, and Best Buy rose 3 1/4, to 50 1/2.
While technology stocks raged, blue chips were held back for most of the session by weakness in the bond market. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 6.39 percent, the highest level in seven weeks, from 6.32 percent late Wednesday. The benchmark bond's price fell $8.43 3/4 per $1,000 invested.
Bond prices fell on the news that the U.S. trade deficit widened to another record of $25.9 billion in October.
American Express lost 5-9/16, to 152 5/8, and J.P. Morgan fell 1/2, to 128 7/8.