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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Stocks climb, extend weekly gains to three”

    NEW YORK — U.S. stocks climbed to fresh multi-year highs Friday, extending their winning streak to a third-straight week, as the market’s upward momentum helped outweigh another round of tightening in China and continued unrest in the Middle East.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.11 points, or 0.59 percent, to 12,391.25, its highest close since June 5, 2008. The measure rose 0.96 percent this week, and has gained 4.8 percent over the past three weeks, marking its best three-week performance since August.

    Among the Dow’s top performers on Friday, Caterpillar Inc. shares added 2.4 percent and Travelers Cos. rose 1.9 percent. Chevron Corp. also was strong, up 1.6 percent, after a U.S. judge delayed a decision on whether to grant an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of an $8.6 billion judgment against the oil company over environmental damage in Ecuador’s Amazon region.

    The Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.37, or 0.08 percent, to 2,833.95, its highest close since Oct. 31, 2007. It is now down just 0.88 percent from its October 2007 multi-year high.

    The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index added 2.58, or 0.19 percent, to 1343.01, its highest close since June 17, 2008.

    “”This is a market that just has momentum and it wants to go higher,”” said Dan Genter, chief executive and chief investment officer of RNC Genter Capital Management.

    The market’s advance on Friday came even as China’s central bank said it will raise banks’ reserve-requirement ratio by half a percentage point, the second increase this year to withdraw excess liquidity from the economy and curb inflation. The move weighed on the materials sector, which gets much of its demand from China, but the rest of the market shrugged it off.

    The climb also came despite additional turmoil in the Middle East, where protesters in Bahrain said security services opened fire on demonstrators as they marched toward the capital’s Pearl roundabout, escalating the standoff between the country’s Sunni Muslim rulers and its Shiite majority population.

    Investors said there are concerns that the Middle East presents risks the market isn’t accounting for.

    “”Some of the geopolitical events we’re seeing in the Middle East do pose another risk,”” said Rob McIver, co-portfolio manager of the Jensen Portfolio. “”It’s interesting that that’s not having more of a negative effect on the bulls at the moment.””

    Investors will have plenty to worry about over the weekend. U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

    The Group of 20 finance ministers are meeting in Paris and turmoil continues in the Middle East.

    At the G-20 meeting, the group of industrial and developing nations appeared headed toward an agreement on setting four indicators as guidelines for measuring global economic imbalances, according to senior G-20 officials. The four indicators would be current-account imbalances, public-sector debt, private-sector debt and one indicator for the real effective foreign exchange rate and the size of foreign-exchange reserves. Read more on what’s expected from the G-20.

    Also at the meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered his most pointed rebuttal yet to foreign critics who say the U.S. central bank’s easy-money policies are causing inflation and asset bubbles abroad. The rest of the world has an interest in the U.S. recovery that his policies are spurring, Bernanke argued in prepared remarks.

    In the Middle East, mass antigovernment demonstrations in Bahrain entered their fifth full day, as four funerals took place simultaneously around the capital, and opposition leaders said the government’s violent crackdown had strengthened their demands for an immediate change of government. The unrest helped lift crude-oil futures up to above $90 a barrel.

    The U.S. Dollar Index, tracking the U.S. currency against a basket of six others, fell 0.4 percent. Treasurys declined, lifting the yield on the 10-year note up to 3.59 percent. Gold futures climbed.

    Among stocks in focus, Campbell Soup Co. shares fell 3.9 percent, after the company cut its outlook for in earnings for its current fiscal year as heated competition for soups, sauces and drinks will hurt results. The lowered outlook comes after Campbell reported a 7.7 percent decline in fiscal second-quarter earnings as more promotions again failed to boost soup sales.

    JDS Uniphase fell 5.3 percent. Citigroup cut its investment rating on the stock to “”hold”” from “”buy,”” saying the shares are “”likely to take a breather following massive outperformance”” lately. The firm said the downgrade was “”driven by stock price concerns rather than underlying trends.””

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