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Stocks soared Friday to record highs in a rally powered by renewed optimism that the economy is headed for a so-called "soft landing" -- low inflation and steady growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 50.84 points to a new high of 4,138.67. It was up 65.02 points for the week.

Advancing issues led decliners 1,625-657 on active trading of 357.91 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The average share added 32 cents.

The Nasdaq index rose 7.27 points to end at a new high of 818.66. The Standard & Poor's composite index of 500 stocks also hit a new high, gaining 5.02 points to 500.97.

The Wilshire Associates Equity Index -- the market value of NYSE, American and Nasdaq issues -- was at a new high of 4,911.265 up 46.211 or 0.95 percent.

Stocks began their ascent at the opening bell, after the Commerce Department said orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket, durable items fell 0.8 percent in February.

Hugh Johnson, market strategist at First Albany Corp., said the report indicated the "economy is slowing to a more sustainable, less inflationary pace.

"That is very positive for almost every sector of the stock market," Johnson said. "If you're leaning toward the economy slowing, you pick consumer non-cyclicals. If you're leaning toward higher growth, you pick cyclical issues. It's almost like you're in a big candy shop, and there's just so much to choose."

Technology issues rose smartly for the third consecutive session, amid continued optimism about computer and semiconductor orders.

Adobe Systems soared 11 1/2 to 50 1/4 in Nasdaq trading. The software company reported first-quarter net earnings of 54 cents per share, compared with 31 cents last year and analysts' estimates of 38 cents.

On the Big Board, IBM rose 1/4 to 83 5/8 ; Digital Equipment rose 3 to 35 1/4 , and Motorola gained 1 1/4 to 55 3/8 .

Corning rose 2 1/8 to 36 1/2 after Prudential Securities said that, based on a meeting it had with Corning management, the company could exceed consensus estimates of $2.31 per share for 1995.

Merrill Lynch turned more positive in its outlook for Latin America, which helped to boost the region's stocks. Telefonos de Mexico rose 7/8 to 27 7/8 , Compania de Telefonos de Chile jumped 3 1/8 to 69, Brazilian pulp company Aracruz gained 1 1/8 to 12 and Buenos Aires Embotelladora added 2 1/4 to 27 1/8 .

Bolt Beranek & Newman rose 2 5/8 to 21 5/8 after saying it had five-year con
tract worth $11 million a year, to build, maintain and operate a portion of the America Online nationwide dial-in network.

In bond trading, the Treasury's main 30-year bond jumped 1 point, or $10 per $1,000 in face value. Its yield, which moves inversely from price, sank to 7.36 percent from 7.44 percent late Thursday.

Short-term Treasury securities increased by between 1/8 point and 1/4 point while intermediate maturities rose by between 3/8 point and 23-32 point, Dow Jones Telerate reported.

In the tax-exempt market, the Bond Buyer index of 40 actively traded municipal bonds closed at 91 15-32, up 12-32 from late Thursday. The average yield to maturity was 6.35 percent, down from 6.38 percent.

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