Wall Street ends higher on economic data

08:49, April 02, 2010      

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U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, the final trading day of the holiday-shortened week, buoyed by better-than-expected readings on initial jobless claims and manufacture activity.

Energy, materials and major manufacturers led the Dow's and the S&P 500's gains as Thursday's data suggested improving global demand for commodities.

But the Nasdaq struggled as RIM, the maker of BlackBerry smart phones, slumped 7.4 percent a day after it posted quarterly results that lagged expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average rallied 70.44, or 0.65 percent, to 10,927.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 8.67, or 0.74 percent, to 1178.10 and the Nasdaq was up 4.62, or 0.19 percent, to 2,402.58.

Friday's move came after the U.S. Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000, in line with market expectations.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, dropped 6,750 to 447,250. The number was better than analysts had expected and also the lowest level since September 2008.

Global markets all moved higher as robust manufacturing data from China and European Union reassured investors that global economic will continue its gradual recovery.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management also showed a rosy picture in the U.S. manufacturing sector. The ISM manufacturing index came in at a six-year high of 59.6, compared with an expected reading of 57, reflecting strong growth from February's level of 56.6.

The U.S. market will be closed on Friday for the Easter holiday. However, investors is still going to pay attention to the monthly non-farm payrolls report from the Labor Department. Economists were expecting to see a real gain in the jobs market, hoping the payrolls number up 19,000 in March and the Unemployment rate stable at 9.7 percent for the third month in a row.



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