Wall Street extends gains on renewed recovery optimism

11:07, February 19, 2010      

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Wall Street advanced for the third straight day on Thursday as investors were hunting recovery signs amid mixed economic data.

Wall Street has been advanced for three days in a row as concerns over European debt problems waned and investors turned their attention to the signs of economic recovery inside the United States.

The market got a lift after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index grew more than expected in February as new orders surged to their highest level in more than five years, reaffirming the manufacture sector was on the right path to the recovery.

Separately, the index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent last month, according to Thursday's report from the Conference Board. The reading fell short of the 0.5 percent growth that economists expected, but it was still the tenth growth in a row, suggesting the economy will continue to grow through spring.

The gains were capped as worse-than-expected data in the job market reminded investors that high unemployment was still a big obstacle on the way to sustainable recovery.

The U.S. Labor Department said before the opening bell that initial claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose by 31,000 to 473,000 in the week ended Feb. 13, while the previous week's level was revised upward to 442,000 from 440,000.

Meanwhile, another report from the Labor Department showed the producer price index for finished goods rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in January on the back of higher energy costs, much higher than analysts had expected. The core PPI, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.3 percent, also higher than the expectation of 0.1 percent.

On company news front, Wal-Mart was the Dow's biggest laggard, with its shares declining 1.1 percent, because the retailing giant disappointed investors with same-store sales that missed its own expectations.

However, Hewlett-Packard, also a Dow component, rose 1.4 percent after the company reported results exceeded estimates and raised its full-year guidance on strong PC and server sales.

As of Thursday's close, the Dow Jones jumped 83.66, or 0.81 percent, to 10,392.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.24, or 0.66 percent, to 1,106.75 and the Nasdaq gained 15.42, or 0.69 percent to 2,241.71.

Source: Xinhua
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