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Overnight Markets: Dow Jones rises to another record high
by Himanshu Singh on Mar 08, 2013 at 02:21
The Dow Jones on Thursday continued its rally and closed at another record high for a third straight day as the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell to a six-week low, showing further improvement in the labour market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 33 points, or 0.23%, to 14,329, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added three points, or 0.18%, to 1,544. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10 points, or 0.3%, to end at 3,232.
Shares rose after the latest economic data showed the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. It was the second straight week of declines. However, caution ahead of the jobs report curbed gains. Friday's non-farm payrolls report is expected to show the US economy added 160,000 jobs in February.
In a separate report yesterday, the Commerce Department said the US international trade deficit widened more than expected in January as crude oil imports rose and fuel oil exports fell.
Financial companies rallied the most on Thursday. Dow component Bank of America rose 2.9%, while JP Morgan Chase added 1.2%.
Shares of network equipment maker Ciena jumped 17.3% after the company reported a smaller quarterly loss.
In the retail sector, Gap Inc added 4.1% as its results were stronger than expected, while Zumiez slid 4.8% on a weak report. Teen apparel retailer Hot Topic Inc said it will be bought by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for about $600 million. Shares surged 29%.
Time Warner Inc rose 2.4% after the company said it would spin off its magazine unit, ending weeks of merger talks with Meredith Corp, which fell 6.2%.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. jumped 0.5% after approving a two-for-one stock split and boosting its dividend.
On the down side, shares of PetSmart fell 6.6% after the company's full-year profit forecast missed analysts' estimates.
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