Stocks rose, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a third straight record, as U.S. jobless claims dropped. The euro gained as the European Central Bank said the economy may stabilize this year while Japan’s yen weakened to 95 per dollar for the first time since 2009.
The Dow rose 0.3% to 14,333.75 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.2% at 3:14 p.m. in New York. Brazil’s Bovespa extended its two-day rally to 5.1%, the most since August. The euro climbed 1.1% to $1.3111, rebounding from its 2013 low, while the yen weakened against all 16 major peers. Spain’s 10-year bond yield fell 11 basis points to 4.89% as the nation sold debt. Natural gas jumped more than 3% to lead gains in commodities.
The S&P 500 climbed to within 1.4% of its 2007 record as jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 7,000 to 340,000 last week, bolstering optimism before tomorrow’s monthly employment report. The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low today and President Mario Draghi said data suggests the economy will stabilize in the first half of this year.
“This is now two straight days we’ve had a positive reading on the labor market and one of the big concerns in the market has been whether this is jobless prosperity and ergo can it continue?” Uri Landesman, president of New York-based hedge fund Platinum Partners, which manages about $1.2 billion, said by telephone. “I’m still skeptical but the data the last two days would support the fact that it’s not jobless prosperity,” he said. “The data’s been strong and if the bulls are still in control of the market, that should take us through resistance.”
The Dow rose 0.3% yesterday to extend an all-time high as an ADP Research Institute report indicated faster-than-forecast growth in jobs and the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book said the economy was growing. Data tomorrow may show U.S. employers added 165,000 people to payrolls in February and the unemployment rate held at 7.9%, according to the median economist forecast.
Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. jumped at least 1% to pace gains in financial shares, the best-performing group today among the 10 main industries in the S&P 500. Boeing Co. jumped 2.5% after winning orders for 27 jets in the past week. Emirates, the largest operator of the Boeing 777 aircraft, said the company is getting closer to offering a new version that will seek to defend its lead against Airbus SAS in the wide-body market.
Trading volume for S&P 500 stocks was about 11% below the 30-day average for this time of day. Ciena Corp. surged 17%, the most in 18 months, and JDS Uniphase Corp. surged 6.8% as Ciena posted quarterly earnings that topped estimates. Time Warner Inc. climbed 1.9% after saying it will spin off its magazine business. PetSmart Inc. tumbled 6.9% as forecasts for earnings and sales growth missed projections.
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