The major stock index exchange traded funds (ETFs) posted their first weekly gains in more than three weeks as healthy earnings news lifted Wall Street on Thursday,
- Strong earnings reports from blue chip companies lifted stocks across the market Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added to its 2011 high, rising 0.2 percent to 12,483. The broader S&P 500 index gained 6, or 0.5 percent, to 1,337. Nine of the 10 company groups that make up the index rose, led by a nearly 1 percent gain in technology companies. The Nasdaq composite index rose 16 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,818. The stronger earnings results were tempered by a weaker-than-expected job market report. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week to 403,000. Economists had expected a larger drop. The gains turned all three indexes positive for the holiday-shortened week. Stocks took a steep drop Monday after Standard & Poor’s warned that it might lower its AAA rating on U.S. government debt. Markets will be closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. The SPDR S&P500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) ended 0.5% higher on Thursday.
- NYSE Euronext said Thursday its board “unanimously” rejected the latest offer from US rivals Nasdaq OMX and Intercontinental Exchange in favor of a bid from Deutsche Boerse. The Nasdaq-ICE offer is “substantially the same as the one we have already rejected. We have not changed our mind,” head of the board Jan-Michiel Hessels said in statement. He repeated that the latest offer was not in the interest of NYSE Euronext shareholders. Earlier this week Nasdaq and ICE said they had boosted their bid to buy NYSE Euronext, offering to pay it $350 million if the deal failed to get regulatory approval. Nasdaq OMX and ICE did not alter the terms of their April 1 cash-and-stock offer that had been rejected by NYSE Euronext as it pursued an agreed merger with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse. The Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3x Shares ETF (NYSEArca: FAS) finished the day up 1.6%.
- The dollar fell to a 16-month low against the euro and British pound on Thursday, with strong U.S. corporate earnings and a further rise in equities leaving investors to shun the greenback. The Australian dollar continued to press into uncharted territory. Since the financial crisis, the dollar has had a tendency to move up or down inversely to stock markets, which traders use as a gauge of investors’ appetite for riskier assets, like stocks, versus the traditional safe-haven status of the greenback. Better earnings and rising stocks detract from interest in holding the U.S. dollar. This week, the dollar index has lost 1.2%, its fourth weekly loss and the biggest drop since mid-March. The CurrencyShares Euro Trust ETF (NYSEArca: FXE) closed slightly higher Thursday.
Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.
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