Dow's winning streak extends to eighth day

08:44, March 19, 2010      

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U.S. stocks ended mixed on Thursday as investors hesitated after recent rally, however the Dow Jones industrial average still managed to gain for the eighth consecutive day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 45.50, or 0.42 percent, to 10,779.17, led by Boeing, 3M and chemical giant DuPont

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped from its 18-month high and ended at 1,165.82, 0.39 or 0.03 percent, lower than Wednesday' s level as oil prices fell and investors fretted about the chance of correction after recent rally.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq edged up 2.19, or 0.09 percent, to 2,391.28.Thursday's move came after economic data continued to show U.S. economy was on track for recovery.

Industrial shares were boosted after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported its index of business activity, which is often looked to as a proxy for national manufacturing activity, advanced to 18.9 in March, topping analysts' average estimate of 17.8.

The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators climbed 0.1 percent in February for an 11th consecutive monthly rise, with the private research group predicting conditions will improve modestly in the near term.

Earlier, the Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index was unchanged in February after rising 0.2 percent in January, while economists were expecting a small jump.

The Core CPI, which excludes volatile energy and food prices rose 0.1 percent, in line with market expectation.

The readings were the latest evidences that the inflation pressures in the United States were still muted, supporting the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates at historic low.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in initial jobless claims.

The report showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits edged down to 457,000 from the previous week's 462,000. The drop was smaller than economists had expected, however it still showed the layoffs were slowing.

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