(IBTimes) - The U.S. Labor Department released data indicating
applications for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks
fell closer to the 375,000 average at which the government starts
to consider lowering its unemployment figure. Market watchers
hope this news suggests that a strong start to job growth in
January won't get wiped out by negative growth heading into the
News that Greece had received bailout fund money as Athens
moved a little closer toward forming a government reassured
investors. Euro zone jitters, though far from cured, eased as
Spain took over Bankia SA. The move calmed fears that Europe's
fourth-largest economy would be the next domino to fall. The
Bankia intervention also boosted financial stocks vulnerable to
Europe's financial woes.
The U.S. housing market got a boost after Freddie Mac
announced that mortgage rates were at record lows. This could
indicate the housing market might be headed out of the doldrums.
Single-family home prices climbed in the first quarter. There
were 22 percent fewer previously owned homes on the market than
in the same period last year.
The Dow ended a six-day retreat and the S&P 500 recovered
from a two-month low, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq was relatively
flat. The stock price of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems,
) lost more than 10 percent after the company said consumers are
slowing their technology purchases below market expectations.
Redwood Shores, Calif., software developer Oracle Corp. (
) also lost more than 2 percent of its stock value. Bellevue,
Wash.-based online retail solutions provider InfoSpace, Inc. (
) was a tech winner with its shares rising more than 20 percent
after it issued a positive second quarter outlook.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose along with stocks
as investors sold bonds on good news from the U.S. labor market,
pulling the yield up to 1.89 after briefly dipping below the
technical resistance line of 1.8 on May 9. Meanwhile, Ford Motor
) is issuing $1.25 billion in three-year notes after it received
a Fitch Ratings upgrade. Last time the company floated debt was
in January, for $1 billion.
As expected, the euro gained a little from a three-month low on
the respite from euro-zone worries. It also ended a record
eight-day losing streak against the dollar. Still, the currency
has been battered, losing 3.8 percent in six months. The British
pound strengthened against the dollar after the Bank of England
ended its second stimulus. Australia's dollar rose after the
country reported an unexpected drop in unemployment.
Corn and cotton futures were hit by the monthly USDA report
predicting bumper crops this autumn. Copper rose for the first
time in six sessions, following equities and shrugging at a
slowdown in Chinese exports. Gold increased slightly as
buyers bought to correct for a recent selloff. Oil registered
slight movement in different directions, with Brent falling and
U.S. benchmark rising.
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