U.S. stocks rise on positive data, but still post weekly loss

17:11, April 16, 2011      

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The U.S. stocks gained on Friday as surging U.S. consumer confidence and industrial production offset Bank of America's disappointing earnings report and the inflation concerns, but still ended the week with losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 56.68 points, or 0.46 percent, to 12,341.83. For the week, the Dow fell 0.31 percent, ending its streak of three consecutive weekly gains.

The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 5.16 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,319.68, closing the week with a drop of 0.64 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.43 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2, 764.65. For the week, it fell 0.25 percent.

On Friday, the economic news offered a lift for the markets. The University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for April rose to 69.6 from 68.2 in March, better than the forecasts, suggesting consumers were still confident in the economic prospects.

The U.S. Federal Reserve said industrial production rose 0.8 percent in March, better than the forecast of 0.6 percent and posting the ninth consecutive increase, which also boosted optimism in the markets.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which is a gauge of manufacturing in New York State, showed that the manufacturing activity surged in April. Its general business conditions index increased to 21.7, the highest level in a year, from 17.5 in March.

The strong manufacturing results boosted the utilities sector, leading the whole market up along with the healthcare sector. But the financial and technology sectors performed fairly bad.

Bank of America shares slipped 2.36 percent after the largest U. S. bank by asset reported a profit that missed market estimates due to mortgage-related losses.

Internet giant Google also released earnings for the first quarter, which beat expectations. But its shares tumbled 8.26 percent, dragging the tech sector down, because investors focused on its 54-percent surge of cost. Moreover, Citigroup downgraded Google to "hold" and cut the price target to 650 dollars from 750.

India's No. 2 outsourcing company Infosys Technologies missed profit expectations as expenses, global uncertainty and a rising rupee squeezed margins. Its shares plunged 13.42 percent.

Next week will be one of the busiest weeks for earnings, with a number of Dow components and several banks and tech companies scheduled to report results.

In other markets, oil prices settled higher, with the U.S. benchmark rising 1.43 percent to close at 109.66 dollars a barrel and London Brent crude adding 1.19 percent to close at 123.45 a barrel. Gold climbed again to settle at 1,486 dollars an ounce, hitting a new record high.

Source: Xinhua

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