New York Stock prices shot higher Thursday, propelling the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 400 points, after Dell Computer and Alcoa gave Wall Street its first really good earnings news in months.
The advance was a welcome relief for a market yearning for an end to Wall Street's protracted slump. But some analysts, noting that most first-quarter earnings reports still would be disappointing, cautioned that the market remains vulnerable to declines.
The Dow rose 402.63, or 4.2 percent, to close at 9,918.05.
The index's run-up was its second-largest daily point gain, after the 499.19 it rose March 16, 2000. Despite the big advance, the Dow has gained less than 40 points this week, having plunged a total of 392 for Monday and Tuesday.
The Nasdaq composite index also soared Thursday, rising 146.20, or 8.9 percent, to 1,785.00, posting its third-largest daily percentage gain.
The Standard & Poor's 500 climbed 48.19, or 4.4 percent, to 1,151.44.
News that Dell expected to meet its previous earnings estimates received an enthusiastic welcome on Wall Street, which has been pounded in recent months by seemingly endless profit warnings and layoff announcements. The tech bellwether, whose previous warnings had sent stocks tumbling, said late Wednesday that it still expected to report about $8 billion in revenue and earnings of 17 cents a share.
Dell, the nation's top producer of desktop and laptop computers, surged $3 to $25.19.
Aluminum producer Alcoa, a Dow stock, added to the market's upward momentum, announcing Thursday that it earned 46 cents a share in the first quarter, 2 cents more than analysts expected. Alcoa rose $1.95 to $37.50. Other Old Economy stocks advanced, including Dow stock 3M, up $4.61 at $103.23.
Dell's news helped other tech issues move higher. Dow stock Intel, which announced last month that it was cutting prices on some of its chips to reduce inventory, rose $3 to $25.63. Intel supplies Dell with chips.
Yahoo climbed $2.75, a 22 percent increase, to $15.25 after its stock was upgraded by Lehman Brothers.