Dow Jones closes above 14,000 for first time since October 2007

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 02, 2013 07:00 hrs

-ANI): U.S. stocks surged Friday on generally positive economic data, gaining for a fifth straight week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 14,000, not seen since Oct.12, 2007.

Wall Street started Friday's trading on a strong note, following a best performing month since 2011 October, with the Dow jumping 5.8 percent and Standard and Poor's 500-stock Index climbing 5.0 percent.

U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, lower than market estimates, and the unemployment rate added slightly to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in the prior month, according to data released by U.S. Labor department Friday.

But U.S. government upgraded the hiring in November and December of 2012, spurring market optimism.

What's more, another batch of economic data further boosted investors' confidence in the world's largest economy.

U.S. economic activity in the manufacturing sector picked up in January to 53.1, the highest level in nine months and the overall economy grew for the 44th consecutive month, the Institute of Supply Management said Friday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Separately, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to 73.8 in January from 72.9 in December, compared with a preliminary reading of 71.3.

Furthermore, spending on U.S. construction projects added up 0. 9 percent in December from the previous month, ending a year in which construction activity increased for the first time in six years, the Commerce Department said Friday.

"U.S. stock market was now overbought but at the end of this year the stock indices would be higher than this time. And the equity market will absolutely set all-time highs in 2013," Benedict Willis,managing director of Albert Fried and Company, LLC, told Xinhua Thursday.

In corporate earnings news, shares of Exxon Mobil gained 0.14 percent to 90.10 U.S. dollars after the world's largest oil company reported, before the opening bell, a 12-percent rise in earnings per share as compared with the year-ago period while its revenue slid 5.3 percent to 115.17 billion dollars.

Chevron shares rose 1.28 percent to 116.62 dollars after the No. 2 U.S. oil producer said the earnings per share in the fourth quarter surged 27 percent to 3.27 dollars, beating forecasts.

Merck shares dipped 3.28 percent to 41.83 dollars after the drug maker reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Friday, but it issued a cautious guidance.

The Dow rallied 149.21 points, or 1.08 percent, to 14,009.07. The S and P 500 leapt 15.06 points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,513.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 36.97 points, or 1.18 percent, to 3, 179.10.

For the week, the Dow was up 0.8 percent, and the S and P 500 advanced 0.7 percent while the Nasdaq gained 0.9 percent.

The U.S. dollar traded mixed against major currencies on Friday, dropping to a 14-month low against the euro while continuing rising versus Japanese yen.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery added 0.29 percent to settle at 97.77 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday as investors remained optimistic about the global economy in view of positive data.

Brent crude for March delivery extended gains and last traded at a four-month high around 116 dollars a barrel.

Gold future for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 0.52 percent to settle at 1,670.6 dollars per ounce Friday. (Xinhua-ANI)

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