Stocks climbed to four-week highs yesterday as anticipation of a year-end rally spurred demand for some of the market's worst performers.

Media companies, among the laggards this quarter, helped set the pace. The stocks gained after Time Warner reported an 80 percent surge in quarterly profit and four cable television companies, including Comcast, joined with Sprint Nextel in a cell phone venture.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 12 points, or 1 percent, to 1214.76. The index fell 1.8 percent in October. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65.96, or 0.6 percent, to 10,472.73.

Computer-chip makers, which have suffered some of the worst declines this quarter, helped lift the Nasdaq composite index by 30.26, or 1.4 percent, to 2144.31. All three benchmarks closed at the highest since Oct. 3.

Seasonal trends may support gains among stocks, if history is any guide. The S&P 500 has climbed during the fourth quarter in nine of the past 10 years. The exception was 2000, when it dropped 8.1 percent.

Among the 384 members of the S&P 500 that had released results as of Tuesday, 65 percent exceeded estimates. That compares with the historical average of 59 percent in the past 10 years, according to Thomson Financial.


Time Warner rose 33 cents, to $17.90. The world's largest media company attributed its jump in third-quarter profit to increased sales in its cable television unit.

Comcast, the world's biggest cable TV provider, increased 70 cents, to $28.80. Sprint Nextel gained 88 cents, to $24.73.

Intel rallied 72 cents, to $23.37, as an S&P 500 index of computer-chip and chip-equipment makers surged 3.1 percent, for its best performance since February. Texas Instruments jumped $1.09, to $29.64.

Symantec, the world's biggest maker of antivirus software, fell $4.63, to $19.37, after issuing a profit forecast that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Cigna, the fourth-largest U.S. health insurance provider, tumbled $7.18, to $110.37. The company said third-quarter profit fell 16 percent.


New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 84.64, to 7509.82.

American Stock Exchange index rose 28.62, to 1681.21.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 14.03, to 657.05.


NYSE: 2.67 billion shares, up from 2.45 billion on Tuesday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 3 to 1.

Nasdaq: 2.19 billion shares, up from 1.94 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 7 to 3.


Crude oil for December delivery: $59.75, down 10 cents.

Gold for current delivery: $464.80 a troy ounce, up from $458.80 on Tuesday.