Wall Street,0842NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks continued their assault on unexplored territory Thursday, as the Dow Jones industrial average climbed to its seventh consecutive record high on the back of a scintillating market for technology shares.
The Dow rose 38.76 points to 6,313.00, closing above 6,300 for the first time. The Dow has now gained 319.77 points, or 5.3 percent, since November 1.
Several broad market indexes broke new ground as well.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 9.64 to 1,270.36, topping its previous record of 1,262.67 set on Monday. The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 2.10 to 389.01, and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 4.75 to 735.88, both reaching new highs.
The American Stock Exchange's market value index rose 1.05 to 585.36, but remained well below its record closing high of 614.99 set last May 22.
Gains have been fueled by a new influx of investment dollars into mutual funds since the Nov. 5 elections confirmed Democrats and Republicans will split power in Washington, something traders believe will restrain inflationary government programs and help reduce the deficit. An economy that shows slow but steady growth without rekindling inflation also is keeping optimism alive on Wall Street.
``There has been a stampede by buyers and a strike by sellers,'' said Michael Metz, Oppenheimer & Co. ``It will continue until it stops.''
Advancing issues led decliners by 3 to 2 on the NYSE. Volume was strong at 478.55 million shares as of 4 p.m., up from Wednesday's pace.
Stocks started the day weaker along with bonds, as a raft of early economic reports looked mildly negative. But both markets turned around at midmorning after investors re-evaluated the retail sales, consumer price and unemployment claims data.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond, which rose in early trading, later fell to an eight-month low of 6.41 percent from 6.46 percent late Wednesday.
``It was just like somebody flipped a switch,'' said Arthur Hogan, the senior stock trader at Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. ``After digesting the economic news, I assume things didn't look as blurry as they did at the opening.''
Technology stocks quickly took the lead, continuing a rally that began on Monday when the semiconductor industry released bullish computer chip sales figures.
Advanced Micro Devices shares rose 3 1/4 to 24 7/8 in leading volume on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said Wednesday it has begun sampling its sixth-generation Microsoft Windows-compatible personal computer microprocessor with key development partners.
Nokia Corp.'s American depositary shares were second in volume and up 7 to 58. The Stockholm-based telecommunications group said third-quarter pretax profit rose 14 percent from a year ago, after falling 70 percent and 56 percent in the first and second quarters, respectively. Analysts said the company, having cleared up logistics problems at its principal mobile phones unit, is poised to reap profits from its strong product portfolio and position in multimedia and fixed telecommunications networks.
Meanwhile, technology giant IBM was the second-biggest gainer among the Dow industrials, rising 2 1/8 to 136 7/8. Digital Equipment rose 2 to 33 1/4 after the computer maker's chairman said the company could return to profitability after posting a fiscal first-quarter loss.
The gains were not confined to technology stocks. Consumer shares advanced sharply, with Philip Morris the big gainer among Dow components and up 3 to 102 5/8. Tobacco stocks rose on reports that Virginia, where Philip Morris is based, joined a legal challenge of President Clinton's proposals for strict new controls on tobacco advertising and sales.
Before the stock market opened Thursday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in October, in line with analysts' expectations. That report, following Wednesday's figures on prices at the wholesale level, confirmed that inflation is not out of hand.
A separate report from the Commerce Department said that heading into the Christmas shopping season, retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in October. That is a significant slowdown from the 0.8 rise in September and below the 0.3 percent pickup expected by analysts. Retail sales represent about one-third of the nation's economic activity.
Labor also said new filings for state unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 last week, the second consecutive weekly decline and the lowest level for jobless filings since Oct. 19.
In overseas trading, the Nikkei index in Tokyo rose 0.25 percent, the DAX index in Frankfurt rose 0.13 percent, the CAC index in Paris rose 0.04 percent, but the FT-SE 100 index in London ended off 0.02 percent.
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