Airline Stocks, Bond Prices Boost Stock Markets Higher

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ The stock market ended higher Wednesday, buoyed by a late rally in airline shares and by higher bond prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.45 points to 3,397.02. Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 296.30 million shares as of 4 p.m., up from 289.51 million in the previous session.

The market ended near the day's high after spending most of Wednesday in anemic, mixed ranges. The late jump in airline issues nudged stocks higher.

Recent better-than-expected airline traffic numbers, hopes the industry's restructuring efforts will restore profitability and heavy selling in the widely held consumer-goods stocks boosted carrier issues, analysts said.

The Dow transportation index soared 36.67 points, or 2.32 percent.

United Airlines jumped 9 to 137, USAir gained 3 to 24, Delta Air Lines jumped 3 to 57 and AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, rose 3 to 69.

The airlines have been reporting traffic for March and the results have been strong. In addition, carriers have been cutting costs and capacity, and increasing fares since September.

Analysts said the selling over the last days of consumer stocks has helped airline issues. Brandname companies are facing pressure from lower-cost generic products and investors are concerned profits will suffer.

Wal-Mart Stores was unchanged at 27, Philip Morris lost to 47, and RJR Nabisco ended unchanged at 6. …