Stocks trim gain, U.S. bonds reverse losses; commodities advance

U.S. stocks trimmed gains as optimism about a drop in jobless claims faded and technology and consumer shares turned lower, while Treasuries erased losses after a $13 billion bond auction. Corn led commodity gains as a report showed global inventories will drop more than expected.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased less than 0.1 percent as of 4 p.m. in New York after rallying as much as 0.8 percent earlier, paring gains as Apple Inc. extended its retreat from a September record to more than 10 percent. Thirty-year Treasury bond yields fell three basis points to 2.85 percent after climbing as much as five points. The S&P GSCI gauge of raw materials added 1.1 percent as corn, natural gas, soybeans and wheat led gains. The dollar fell against 14 of 16 major peers.

Global stocks and commodities extended gains this morning after U.S. applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell by 30,000 to 339,000 last week, in a report which may reflect difficulty adjusting the data for seasonal swings at the start of a quarter. Early gains also came after Citigroup Inc. upgraded U.S. equities to overweight, citing central-bank stimulus plans and earnings momentum, and predicted a 9 percent rally in global stocks by the end of next year.

“The economy is improving, we’re doing a better job,” Philip Orlando, the New York-based chief equity strategist at Federated Investors Inc., which oversees about $370 billion, said in a telephone interview. “I think we should be going faster but this is a phenomenal claims number. So now the question is, ‘Is this number real or is it going to get revised away next week?’”

Slump Halted

The S&P 500 rose for the first time in a week. Unemployment claims were forecast to increase to 370,000 last week from 367,000 the previous period, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. One state accounted for most of the plunge in claims, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were issued to the press.

Sprint Nextel Corp. jumped as Japan’s Softbank Corp. was said to be in talks to buy control of the company. Schlumberger Ltd. and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. paced gains in commodity producers.

Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. paced gains among financial shares in the S&P 500 and banks rose the most among 19 industries in Europe after people familiar with the talks said the European Union may push back the deadline for applying tougher bank-capital rules for as long as a year. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the global standard- setting body that prepared the new rules, admitted this week that not all nations will meet the 2013 start date.

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