US stocks climb on strong technology, health earnings

July 24th, 2008 - 7:30 am ICT by IANS  

New York, July 24 (DPA) Major US stock indices closed higher Wednesday on strong earnings reports from technology, health and pharmaceutical companies and expectations that a major housing bill would be approved by Congress. US telephone giant AT&T reported a 30-percent increase in second quarter profits as mobile phone revenue more than compensated for a steep drop in home landlines.

An index of telephone stocks rose the most in five years as a result, according to Bloomberg News.

Positive earnings reports from Pfizer Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest US medical insurer, helped push up health shares.

Financial shares improved after the White House dropped its opposition to a major housing bill that provides relief to homeowners and approves a contingency plan in the event of the collapse of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The House of Representatives approved the housing legislation soon after markets closed and the Senate was expected to follow suit.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 29.88 points, or 0.26 percent, to 11,632.38. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 5.19 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,282.19. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 21.92 points, or 0.95 percent, to 2,325.88.

The dollar rose to 63.76 euro cents from 63.34 euro cents Tuesday and to 107.97 Japanese yen from 107.32 yen.

Gold fell $25.70 to $922.80 per fine ounce.

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