- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street carved out a solid advance yesterday after data on job creation, manufacturing and inflation injected the market with renewed confidence about the economy and sent major indexes to record closes.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was the biggest gainer among the major indicators and moved toward a new trading high.

Investors found reason for optimism in a stronger-than-expected jobs report for May. Non-farm payrolls rose by 157,000 last month, a larger increase than in April and more than anticipated. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.5 percent, as forecast, according to the Labor Department report.

The economic picture appeared brighter still after a lower reading on inflation from the Commerce Department and data from the Institute for Supply Management’s May survey that indicated that the manufacturing sector was strengthening.

“If you can get job growth without wage inflation, that’s about as positive as you can get,” said Randy Frederick of Charles Schwab & Co.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40.47, or 0.30 percent, to 13,668.11, its 26th record close for the year. The Dow, which tacked on 1.19 percent for the week, also set a fresh trading high of 13,692.00 yesterday.

Broader stock indicators also gained to end a week that saw stocks advance amid a bevy of favorable economic figures and the continued hum of corporate takeover activity. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.72, or 0.37 percent, to 1,536.34. The S&P; traded as high as 1,540.56 and advanced toward its record trading high of 1,552.87 set in March 2000.

Wall Street marked a milestone this week when the index set its first record close since 2000, signaling the broader market’s recovery from the dot-com implosion early in the decade. The S&P; gained 1.36 percent for the week.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.40, or 0.36 percent, to 2,613.92 yesterday. Despite a 2.22 percent advance for the week that far outpaced other major indexes, the Nasdaq remains well off of its closing high of 5,048.62, set in March 2000.

The Russell 2000 Index rose 6.23, or 0.74 percent, to 853.41. The smaller company gauge finished the week up 23.48, or 2.83 percent.

“As the market pushes higher and higher and higher, people start to get a little more uneasy about where it’s at,” Mr. Frederick said.

Although he contends that the markets appear reasonable at present, he said prudent investors should remain cautious.

“To me, it gets a little more nervous every Friday with the market pushing higher,” he said, referring to the overall mood on Wall Street.

As stocks climbed yesterday, bonds fell sharply. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.95 percent from 4.89 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Light, sweet crude rose $1.07 to $65.08 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wal-Mart was the biggest gainer in the Dow. The retailer said it will open fewer U.S. superstores next year as it looks to reduce spending and set plans to repurchase $15 billion in stock. Wal-Mart rose $1.87, or 3.9 percent, to $49.47.

Technology stocks were among the biggest gainers, as was the case Thursday. Fiscal first-quarter profits at Dell Inc. topped estimates late Thursday, and the company said it would cut 10 percent of its work force during the next two years in a bid to lower costs. Dell advanced 39 cents to $27.30.

CKX Inc., the operator of Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate and holder of the rights to TV’s “American Idol,” agreed to be taken private by its chairman and chief executive. CKX surged $4.02, or 37.8 percent, to $14.65.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange on heavy trading volume — unusual for a summer Friday.

Overseas, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.7 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.47 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.84 percent, Germany’s DAX rose 1.33 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 1.05 percent.

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