US stocks climb on hope that recession could be ending

June 19th, 2009 - 6:20 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 19 (DPA) Major US stock indices made gains for the first time this week Thursday after a streak of reports suggested the country’s recession may be coming to an end.
The US Labour Department said in a weekly report that claims for unemployment benefits fell for the first time since January. Claims dropped by 148,000 to 6.69 million people.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of leading economic indicators rose for the second straight month, climbing 1.2 percent in May following a 1.1-per-cent rise in April.

“The recession is losing steam,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the New York-based Conference Board. “Confidence is rebuilding and financial market volatility is abating.”

Shares of US banks gained as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the administration’s plans for a massive overhaul of financial regulation before Congress. Banking shares had been leading the slide for the last three days.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 58.42 points, or 0.69 percent, to end at 8,555.6 points. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500 climbed 7.66 points, or 0.84 percent, to 918.37. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed, down 0.34 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,807.72.

The US currency rose slightly against the euro to 71.94 euro cents from 71.71 euro cents Wednesday. The dollar was up against the Japanese currency to 96.55 yen from 95.76 yen.

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