US stocks rally, ending three-day slump

February 4th, 2009 - 6:46 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 4 (DPA) Wall Street stock indices gained Tuesday, ending a three-day downward spiral, based on a few positive earnings reports and an increase in a key measure of home sales.Merck & Co, the third-largest drug maker, reported higher-than-expected earnings based largely on job cuts and lower taxes. Its fourth-quarter net income was $1.64 billion.

For the first time in four months US home sales were up, as falling prices boosted demand, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors. The Census Bureau said Tuesday that 19 million US homes were empty at the end of 2008.

There was bad news from Dow Chemical, which reported Tuesday that it lost $1.6 billion in the final quarter of 2008 in a development reflecting the loss of financial backing from Kuwait.

Mobile device maker Motorola Inc reported a net loss for 2008, as the company continued to report troubles in selling its hand-held devices. For the year, the company reported a loss of $4.2 billion.

Motorola said it expects to make a loss in the first quarter of 2009 as well, and recently announced plans to cut 4,000 positions.

US car sales tumbled by more than 30 percent in January, with struggling domestic carmakers continuing to lead the way as consumers cut back sharply on spending.

The US “Big Three” all reported declines of 40 percent or more compared to January 2007. General Motors Corp dropped 49 percent, Ford Motor Co fell 40 percent and Chrysler LLC declined 55 percent.

Japanese makers did only a little better. Toyota Motor Corp fell 34 percent in January from the year before, while its rival Honda Motor Co was down 31 percent. Nissan Motor Co fell 30 percent.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.53 points, or 1.78 percent, to 8,078.36. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 13.07, or 1.58 percent, to 838.51. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 21.87 points, or 1.46 percent, to 1,516.30.

The US currency rose against the euro to 76.79 euro cents from 77.84 euro cents Monday. The dollar gained against the Japanese currency to 89.52 yen from 89.48 yen.

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