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(April 5, 2001) -- The bulls ran again today, as Dell Computer Corp. and Alcoa posted the first optimistic news of the first-quarter earnings season.

Dell CEO Michael Dell told analysts the company will meet sales and profits estimates for the quarter, and aluminum producer Alcoa reported a 37% increase in revenue for the quarter.

The news shocked the markets into overdrive, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 4.23%, at 9,918, up 402.60 points, its second-largest one-day point gain. Dell's news also pumped up tech stocks, with the Nasdaq index up 8.92%, closing up 146.21 points at 1,785.01, its third-largest one-day percentage gain.

The run-up benefited nearly all agency and media stocks, including the battered online agencies. American Depository Receipt Shares of Havas Advertising and WPP Group rose 9.5% and 7.42%, respectively. Havas closed at $12.25, up $1.06, and WPP closed at $51.56, up $3.56. Among online shops, Razorfish rose 45.45% to close at 50 cents, up 16 cents, and Luminant Worldwide Corp. rose 33.33% to close at 75 cents, up 19 cents. -- Mercedes Cardona

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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