Bank technology stocks performed generally well for the week, as investors shook off fears of inflation.
Several key indicators in the last week showed only modest growth in inflation. The Commerce Department's consumer price index rose only 0.4% in April. Meanwhile, retail sales dropped 0.3%.
By Friday afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average had risen about 100 points from Monday's close of 5582 and was hovering close to the record high of 5689.74 set on April 3.
Despite a midweek selloff, as investors engaged in profit taking, several financial technology companies fared exceptionally well. Leading the pack was Netscape Communications Corp., Mountain View, Calif., whose shares rose nearly 20% within the week.
Amid heavy trading, the company made several announcements, including a marketing deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. and a new software product for collecting payments on the Internet.
Netscape officials described the new software, called LivePayments, as an electronic cash register. Designed to ensure secure credit card processing over the Internet, it will be supported by Cybercash Inc., First Data Corp., MasterCard International, Verifone, and Wells Fargo & Co.
The Wall Street Journal reported rumors of a deal brewing between Netscape, Sun Microsystems Inc., and Cybercash for a new service aimed at electronic commerce transactions over the Internet.
Shares as Cybercash jumped to a high of 49 Tuesday, up from last week's close of 39 1/2.
Stock in the Reston, Va.-based developer of electronic purses was trading at $48 at 3 p.m. on Friday.
First Data Corp. and Verifone Inc. also ended strongly Friday on heavy trading for the week.
In other news affecting financial technology companies, Sungard Data Systems, Wayne, Pa., recorded trading volume of more than 1.2 million shares last Monday.
Sungard provides disaster recovery and investor support systems for financial institutions. Average daily volume over six months had been just under 200,000 shares, on 43 million shares outstanding.
Sungard attributed the surge to the fact Morgan Stanley & Co. initiated coverage on the stock with an "outperform" rating by analyst David G. Togut, who joined the firm recently from CS First Boston.
Also, stock in John Harland Co. experienced a one-day surge in volume on the New York Stock Exchange, exceeding 3 million shares.
The average daily volume in the Atlanta-based check printing company's shares over the last six months was less than 150,00.
A spokeswoman, Sharon Lennon, attributed the heavy volume to the "ex- dividend date," which occurred last Wednesday.
Shares bought on the ex-dividend day means new investors will be paid the dividend, "and Harland pays a significant dividend," she said.
Recent trips by its executives to meet with investors and analysts at investment houses in New York and Boston may have raised awareness of the company in the market, she said.