16 Aug 2008

US stocks rise as dollar rallies

9:02 am on 16 August 2008

The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Friday, as sinking commodity prices raised hopes of a consumer spending recovery.

A rally in the US dollar pushed the price of oil to a 15-week low.

Retailer Kohl's Corp raised its full-year forecast, saying it would be able to weather a tough economy. Shares in department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc also rose sharply after it reported earnings that were higher than expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 43.97 points, or 0.38%, to 11,659.90. Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 5.27 points, or 0.41%, to 1,298.20.

The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.15 points, or 0.05%, to 2,452.52 on Friday.

Trading was choppy in thin volume.

The price of oil fell $US1.24, or 1.1%, to settle at $US113.77 a barrel. Commodity markets also tumbled, with gold sinking below $800 an ounce to almost a nine-month low.

US consumer sentiment improved slightly in early August, due to a drop in gasoline prices.

Trading volume was low on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.17 billion shares changing hands. About 1.79 billion shares were traded on the Nasdaq.

Other markets

European shares closed higher on Friday as oil prices continue to fall.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.3% higher at 1,189.61 points.

Around Europe: Germany's DAX rose 0.1% and France's CAC added 0.7%.

Italian markets were closed for the Assumption Day holiday. On Thursday, the All Share Mibtel index closed at 22,104 points.

However, in Britain, The FTSE 100 fell 0.77%, or 42.6 points, to 5,454.8 points after a 0.9% rise on Thursday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 0.48% in thin trade, adding 62.61 points to end at 13,019.41.

In Hong Kong, shares fell 1.09%. The Hang Seng Index ended down 232.13 points at 21,160.58 - its lowest level in nearly five months.

NZ market

The New Zealand stockmarket had a positive day on Friday.

The NZX 50 index was up 17 points to close at 3351 on turnover of $123 million.

Telecom was down 4 cents to $3.24, Contact Energy was up 7c to $8.57 and Fletcher Building was up 25c at $6.99

Michael Hill International rose 2c to $0.89 after its annual profits rose 20%.

Steel & Tube was up 10c to $3.25 after reporting a fall in full year profit on Thursday.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay was down 2c to $1.78 while New Zealand Finance was unchanged at 40c after picking a lower profit for the March 2009 year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas was up 2c to $1.49.

In currency markets: the New Zealand dollar was trading at US69.69 cents, 80.67 Australian cents, 37.38 pence, 76.82 yen and 0.4719 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 65.04.


Australian stocks were up slightly. The Australian 200 index was up 2 points, to 4983.

Woolworths says it will try to appeal a New Zealand court decision which prevents it from bidding for The Warehouse Group.

The ABC reports Warehouse shares were put on a trading halt on Friday, after reports about Woolworths' plans emerged, but it says it has received no notification of any such court application.

Shares in Woolworths closed steady at $A26.70.