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Overnight Markets: Dow Jones surges to highest level since May 2008

The bourse gained 46 points to 12,985 amid upbeat housing and jobs market reports.

 
Overnight Markets: Dow Jones surges to highest level since May 2008

Wall Street advanced on Thursday, sending the Dow Jones to the highest level since May 2008, amid upbeat housing and jobs market reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 46 points, or 0.36%, to 12,985. The S&P 500 Index rose six points, or 0.43%, to 1,363. The Nasdaq Composite added 24 points, or 0.81%, to 2,957.

In an upbeat note for the economy, new applications for jobless benefits were unchanged last week and were at the lowest since the early days of the 2007-2009 recession.

In a separate report, the data from Federal Housing Finance Agency showed that a gauge of home prices jumped 0.7% in December, beating estimates. The euro advanced to the strongest level in more than 10 weeks against the dollar as a report showed German business confidence climbed.

Sears Holdings surged 18.7% despite reporting a huge quarterly net loss, after the company reassured investors about its ability to pay down debt. Vivus jumped 78% as investors bet its experimental weight-loss drug would be approved by US regulators.

Procter & Gamble gained 3.1% as the largest consumer-products company said it will cut 5,700 jobs. PulteGroup and KB Home advanced at least 4.3% to pace gains in homebuilders.

Target Corp. jumped 2.9% after the second- largest US discount retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded some analysts’ estimates. MetroPCS Communications rallied 14% after the pay-as-you-go US wireless carrier reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

On the negative side, Hewlett-Packard was down 6.5% and was the biggest drag on the Dow. Safeway declined 7.6% after the grocer’s fourth-quarter sales excluding fuel at stores open at least one year increased 1.5%.

In Asia, equities gained on Friday in morning session after upbeat US jobs and housing data boosted confidence the world’s largest economy is recovering.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5% to 128 as of 10:37 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 0.3% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.3% as property and financial stocks declined.

Samsung Electronics advanced 1.8% in Seoul. Inpex rose 4% in Tokyo after crude oil futures extended gains for a seventh day.

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