THE MARKETS

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Blue-chip stocks closed sharply higher today after a steep drop in long-term bond interest rates sparked renewed speculation that the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.78 to end the day at 4601.40. The Nasdaq Composite fell for the second straight day, falling .89 to close at 1,020.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 stocks gained 2.64, closing at 560.10. On the New York Stock exchange advancers led decliners 1291 to 863. And in London, gold closed down $1.05 to end the day at $382.95.SPECIAL PHOTO ESSAY: