11 Jul 2008

Wall Street share prices rise

10:04 am on 11 July 2008

Stocks rose on Thursday, helped by optimism about a major deal in the chemicals sector and a statement by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

Dow Chemical's $US15.3 billion bid for Rohm and Haas gave investors confidence that there was value in the sector.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress they were doing everything possible to restore calm to financial markets, but stressed to lawmakers that a longer-term regulatory overhaul was vital to avert future crises.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 81.58 points, or 0.73%, to 11,229.02, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 8.70 points, or 0.70% to 1,253.39.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 22.96 points, or 1.03% to close at 2,257.85.

Alcoa also helped drive the Dow upward after aluminum prices hit an all-time high on output cuts in top producer China.

Apple's stock rose, lifting the Nasdaq, as it was set to launch the latest version of its popular iPhone.

But a jump in the price of oil amid threats to production in Nigeria and Brazil and an additional missile test by Iran kept the stock market's gains in check.

The higher oil prices raised concerns about consumer spending and corporate profits, hurting sectors from retailers to automakers.

The gains came a day after the S&P 500 joined the Dow industrials and the Nasdaq in a bear market.

Mixed day for Asia-Pacific markets

The New Zealand sharemarket 50 index was down 64 points to 3112 at the close of trade on Thursday

Telecom was down 14c to $3.37, while Fletcher Building slid 30c to $6.43. Hallenstein Glasson fell 9c to $2.60 and Freightways was down 3c to $2.99.

The Australian market fell more than 1%, following sharp losses on Wall Street.

At 1615 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had lost 74.5 points, or 1.49%, to 4,937.4, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 68.9 points, or 1.35%, to 5,020.5.

The September share price index futures contract fell 65 points to 4,929 on a total volume of 21,348 contracts.

In Japan, share prices closed 0.12% higher, but worries over US corporate earnings lingered, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index edged up 15.08 points to 13,067.21.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares rose 5.23 points or 0.41% to end at 1,290.76.

Hong Kong share prices closed flat after a topsy-turvy session that saw the benchmark index swing in and out of positive territory, dealers said. The Hang Seng Index closed up 15.97 points, or 0.07%, at 21,821.78.