Stocks gained yesterday, sending the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index to a four-year high, after the Federal Reserve said the economy is expanding without inflation and a report showed an unexpected rise in durable goods orders.

Better-than-expected sales at, the world's largest online retailer, and a higher profit forecast from Boeing, the No. 2 commercial aircraft maker, also gave a lift to benchmark indexes.

"This economy is quite strong," said Richard Hoey, chief investment officer at Dreyfus Corp. in New York, which has $160 billion in assets. "I've been very much an advocate of stocks, especially the high-grade stocks, because I see a multiyear economic expansion with rising profits."

The S&P 500 gained 5.63, or 0.5 percent, to 1236.79, the highest since June 2001. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 57.32, or 0.5 percent, to 10,637.09. The Nasdaq composite index rose 10.23, or 0.5 percent, to 2186.22.


Boeing advanced 35 cents, to $66.70. The company said 2005 per-share profit will be $2.75 to $2.85, up from its April forecast of $2.60.

Johnson & Johnson gained $1.87, or 3 percent, to $64.54, for the biggest jump in the Dow average.

Sprint advanced $1.40, to $26.37. The No. 3 U.S. mobile-phone company reported second-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates.

Corning, the biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display glass for televisions and computers, increased 97 cents, to $19.17, as its third-quarter profit forecast beat analysts' estimates.

Delta Air Lines plunged 40 cents, or 11.8 percent, to $2.99, for the steepest decline in the S&P 500. Chief executive Gerald Grinstein told employees in a memo that "more must be done and be done quickly" to restore profitability as Delta tries to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection.

McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, declined 28 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $30.08, for the biggest drop in the Dow average after the Department of Agriculture said it may have found a third case of mad cow disease. Wendy's International, the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, fell 79 cents, to $45.06.


New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 37.37, to 7465.44.

American Stock Exchange index rose 10.08, to 1566.97.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 3.80, to 670.78.


NYSE: 1.98 billion shares, up from 1.93 billion on Tuesday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 3 to 2.

Nasdaq: 1.78 billion shares, up from 1.68 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 8 to 7.


Crude oil for September delivery: $59.11, down 9 cents.

Gold for current delivery: $424.70 a troy ounce, up from $423.40 on Tuesday.