Strong ECON data drives stocks, Treasuries gainFebruary 23rd, 2012 by Marc Prosser
US stocks closed higher Thursday, with the Dow flirting with the psychologically important 13,000 level again for the second time this week and the S&P 500 hovering near its 10-month high. Positive economic data indicated an overall recovery, enabling investors chose to shrug-off Hewlett Packard’s disappointing earnings outlook.
Meanwhile treasury prices rose as demand for seven-year notes which were auctioned today were well-covered. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand that compares the number of securities offered with total bids received, was recorded at 3.11 for seven-year notes.
Yields on US 10-year notes hit a weekly low following the European Commission’s warning that Spain and Italy will drive the region’s economy down this year.
Today’s rally puts all the three indexes in positive territory for the week., The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,984.69, up 46.02 points on the day and within sniffing distance of the 13,000 mark.
Procter & Gamble (PG) led the rise of two-thirds of the components of the Dow- index. Other big gainers for the day were IBM (IBM) and Travelers (TRV) and Disney (DIS).
Computer-maker Hewlett-Packard CO (HPQ) shed 6.3 percent, the highest among the 30-component DJIA, after it announced latest quarter’s sales have sunk by 7 percent and profits dropped by a dramatic 44 percent.
The S&P 500 Index added 5.51 points to end at 1,367.17 with Sears Holding Corp (SHLD) leading the rally.
The NASDAQ composite index closed 24.84 points higher at 2,958.00.
Unemployment claims remained close to the four-year low at 351,000. That’s the same as the prior week reading and slightly better than analysts’ forecasts.
Yield on the seven-year notes auctioned today were lower at 1.418 percent, compared with a consensus forecast 1.456 percent.