US stocks rise on positive jobles claims data

December 27, 2013 11:37 am

US stocks advanced yesterday, extending gains to a sixth consecutive day as Dow Jones pushed to record highs amid positive labor market data.

The S&P 500 index rose 8.70 points, or 0.5%, to 1842.02, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 11.76 points, or 0.3%, to 4167.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 122.33 points, or 0.7%, to 16479.88 for its 50th record high of the year. The Dow’s 25.8% gain in 2013 is on track to be the biggest yearly advance since 1996.

Michael Yoshikami, chief executive officer at Destination Wealth Management, said to Wall Street Journal that he expected stocks to benefit as investors exit bonds, and buy shares, in the months ahead.

“Individual investors are starting to believe that these (strong stock) returns is not some phantom and that the economy is coming back from the abyss of 2008,” said Mr. Yoshikami, whose firm manages $1.4 billion.

On Thursday, the number of people filing for initial unemployment benefits declined for the first time in three weeks. Initial claims for jobless benefits decreased by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000 in the most recent week, a bigger decline than economists had expected.

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a record amid optimism over the economic recovery. S&P 500 futures expiring in March fell 0.1% to 1,834.10 at 10:52 a.m. today in London. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts lost 6 points, or less than 0.1%, to 16,416.

“The beginning of withdrawal of monetary stimulus has added visibility for investors, who can now focus on a strengthening economic recovery,” Jacques Porta, who helps oversee $780 million as a fund manager at Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris, said by phone. “The U.S. economy is very strong, it’s a good surprise.”

In corporate news, Apple Inc. declined to $563.70 in early New York trading. The maker of iPhones is again seeking to ban sales in the U.S. of Samsung products that were at issue in their first patent trial in California and are now no longer on the market. Apple yesterday asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, to bar sales of more than 20 smartphones and tablets, such as the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, that a jury last year found to infringe Apple’s patents.

Twitter is in focus as investors gauge how much momentum is left in its stock. Shares logged their highest volume day on Thursday since the November initial public offering, with 82.7 million shares trading hands, accounting for just over 4% of the composite volume for New York Stock Exchange-listed shares. At one point, Twitter reached a new high of $74.73 and market cap topped $40 billion before dipping back below that mark. During December, shares have soared 76%.

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