Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Dow Jones, S&P set new records for second day straight

AFP AND DPA , NEW YORK

Wall Street lifted to a second straight day of record highs Friday, riding momentum from a powerful rally a day earlier as investors shook off a weak US retail spending report and a spike in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue chips climbed 45.52 points (0.33 percent) to close at 13,907.25, notching another all-time high and topping 13,900 for the first time ever.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ composite added 5.27 points (0.02 percent) to 2,707.00.

The broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 4.80 points (0.31 percent) to 1,552.50, setting another all-time record. The index rose as high as 1,555.10, eclipsing its intraday high of 1,552.87 set during the tech boom of 2000.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.2 percent -- its largest weekly gain since April. The S&P 500 was up 1.4 percent and the NASDAQ 1.5 percent on the week.

Setting a positive tone was an upbeat earnings report from General Electric, the US conglomerate with an array of businesses that is often viewed as a microcosm of the overall US economy. GE said profits rose 10 percent despite losses from subprime mortgages.

This helped offset a report showing a 0.9 percent slide in retail sales and another spike in oil prices to fresh highs.

Fred Dickson, market strategist at DA Davidson, said market sentiment may have turned followed Thursday's "breakout rally" of some two percent for the main indexes.

"The rally reinforced our view that these bulls are ready to take advantage of very small market pullbacks and that the bears are not anxious sellers, even at the current market price level," he said.

Al Goldman, chief market strategist at AG Edwards, said Friday's gains were helped by GE after its profit report and Alcoa, amid speculation the aluminum giant might become a takeover target after it dropped its bid for Canada's Alcan.

GE shares gained US$0.50 to US$39.50, while Alcoa advanced US$2.06 to US$47.35.

Elsewhere, Energizer Holdings added US$0.94 to US$107.67 after the battery makers announced plans to acquire feminine products maker Playtex Products for US$1.9 billion, up US$2.45 at US$17.97.

"We see Playtex as an exceptionally great fit with Energizer," Energizer chief executive Ward Klein said.

Bonds firmed following the weak retail sales report, which suggested easing inflation pressures. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond dipped to 5.107 percent from 5.116 percent on Thursday and that on the 30-year bond fell to 5.194 percent from 5.211 percent.

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