US stocks end positive on strong week

April 4th, 2009 - 8:19 am ICT by IANS  

New York, April 4 (DPA) US stocks made gains Friday at the close of a strong week for global markets, buoyed by some positive economic news and a comprehensive deal by world leaders to tackle the global recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 21 percent over the past four weeks, its best run over that timeframe since 1933, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Friday’s gains overshadowed a dismal unemployment report in the United States. Some 667,000 jobs were shed in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 8.5 per cent, the highest level since 1983, the US Labour Department said.

The department said 5.1 million jobs have now been lost since the US recession began in December 2007, the sharpest loss since the end of World War II.

The report sent US stocks falling in the morning, but shares rallied after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a North Carolina gathering that the central bank’s massive lending programmes were helping to stabilize the financial system. Financial shares gained 4.2 percent.

Leaders of the Group of 20 bloc of the world’s top industrial and emerging economies agreed Thursday to an overhaul of financial regulations and to inject more than $1 trillion into international institutions to help avert the global recession.

Some better-than-expected news from the US housing, car and manufacturing sectors this week has also led investors to speculate that the worst of the recession may be over.

The blue-chip Dow industrials gained 39.51 points, or 0.5 percent, to 8,017.59. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 8.12 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 842.50. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.24 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,621.87.

The Dow jumped 3.1 per cent on the week and the S&P 500 surged 3.3 percent. Both indexes posted their fourth-straight weekly advance and closed at their highest level since Feb 9.

The US currency dropped against the euro to 74.15 euro cents from 74.28 euro cents on Thursday. But the dollar rose against the Japanese currency to 100.32 yen from 99.46 yen.

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