Stocks higher on upgrades
NEW YORK – Stocks gained Friday, narrowing the week’s losses as the energy and basic materials sectors improved and Dow components Exxon Mobil Corp. and Intel Corp. climbed on upgrades.Volume was heavy as options expired, but advances were limited as investors eyed America’s current account deficit for April-June. The trade deficit dipped slightly, but still was at the second-highest level in history and on track to surpass last year’s record trade deficit of $668.1 billion. Foreign investors continued heavy buying of U.S. Treasury bonds in July, but economists worry that at some point they will no longer want to hold such sizable sums of dollar-denominated assets.Gains were also capped by the University of Michigan’s midmonth report on consumer sentiment for September. Dow Jones said the survey, which is only available to subscribers, showed a steep decrease, but analysts wrestled with whether consumers would really change their spending habits, or whether they were just distraught by Hurricane Katrina.”Last week, there was a lot of things that went right for the bulls. It wasn’t surprising to see a bit of a correction this week,” said Ken Tower, chief market strategist for Schwab’s CyberTrader.The Dow rose 83.19, or 0.79 percent, to 10,641.94.Broader stock indicators were slightly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10.18, or 0.83 percent, to 1,237.91, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 14.20, or 0.66 percent, to 2,160.35.Bonds continued their decline, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.27 percent from 4.22 percent late Thursday. The U.S. dollar was mixed against other major currencies. Gold prices rose, hitting a 17-year high.Crude oil futures dipped. A barrel of light crude settled at $63, down $1.75 cents, in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.The market spent much of the week waiting for the Fed; the economic data tended to be downbeat, but not enough to trigger a big selloff. The Dow dropped 36.62, or 0.34 percent over the course of the week; the S&P dropped 3.57, or 0.29 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 15.16, or 0.70 percent.Intel rose 26 cents to $24.81; Exxon Mobil rose $1.24 to $63.70. Fellow Dow component DuPont Co., whose stock often tracks energy companies since petroleum is one of its basic materials, was also up sharply as oil prices dropped. DuPont rose 41 cents to $40.51.Progressive Corp. rose $4.17 to $102.02 after the country’s third-largest auto insurer said monthly earnings dropped 43 percent in August. Through Sept. 14, the insurer had 19,000 claims from Hurricane Katrina. The company set aside $119.5 million in reserves for the claims. But the $1.09 billion in premiums it wrote was flat for the year-ago period and Bear Stearns initiated coverage at “peer perform.”American Express Co. rose $1.90 to $59.46 after a court approved its $350 million in financing to Delta Air Lines Inc. as the carrier moves through bankruptcy proceedings, according to Dow Jones. Terms of the restructuring deal call for Delta to repay the $500 million that American Express Travel Related Services Co. advanced in the fourth quarter of 2004 and first quarter of 2005 as prepayment for the purchase of Delta SkyMiles reward points. Delta rose 10 cents to 85 cents a share.DaimlerChrysler AG rose $1.51 to $51.68 after said it agreed to buy out minority shareholders in a German diesel-engine maker it owns, opening the way for DaimlerChrysler to sell the business. DaimlerChrysler, which is selling off almost everything outside its core vehicle business, said it was in talks with several potential buyers.Advancing issues led decliners by roughly 8 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume was 3.69 billion, up from 2.14 billion Thursday.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 6.56, or 0.99 percent, to 671.98.Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.22 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.45 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 1.64 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.67 percent.—The Dow Jones industrials ended the week down 36.62, or 0.34 percent, to close Friday at 10,641.94; the S&P dropped 3.57, or 0.29 percent, to end the week at 1,237.91.The Nasdaq dropped 15.16, or 0.70 percent, to close Friday at 2,160.35.The Russell 2000 index closed the week down 23.34, or 3.47 percent, at 671.98.The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index – a free-float weighted index that measures 5,000 U.S. based companies- ended the week at 12,356.01, off 62.04 points from last week. A year ago, the index was 10,993.60.—On the Net:New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.comNasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com
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