- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2003

NEW YORK, April 17 (UPI) — U.S. share prices ended higher Thursday, shrugging off early-day news of continued weakness in the job market.

The blue-chip Dow Jones gained 80.04 points, or 0.97 percent, to close at 8,337.65, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index added 30.78 points, or 2.21 percent, to close at 1,425.50.

The broader New York Stock Exchange composite index gained 73.72 points to close at 5,006.32, the Standard & Poor's 500 index added 13.67 to close at 893.58, the American Stock Exchange composite index added 7.68 points to close at 842.99, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 126.64 points to close at 8,466.84.

Volume was 1.65 billion shares on the Big Board and 1.55 billion on Nasdaq.

Claims for jobless benefits rose by 30,000 in the latest week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

For the week ended April 12, jobless claims rose to 442,000, the ninth consecutive week that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits remained above the critical 400,000-threshold.

The largest increases in claims were in Illinois, followed by Massachusetts and Alabama. The largest decreases were posted in Kentucky and Missouri.

On the corporate front, Finland's Nokia, the world's largest manufacturer of cellular phones, said first-quarter earnings rose 13 percent. The company forecast global sales to rise 10 percent this year.

Biotechnology company Biogen said first-quarter revenue reached $321 million, up 11 percent, which supported demand for biotech issues.

Bonds eased Thursday. The 10-year bond dropped 4/32 to 99 10/32 and its yield, which moves inversely to its price, rose to 3.96 percent from 3.94 percent on Wednesday.

European shares edged up. The London International Stock Exchange's blue-chip FTSE-100 index gained 27.10 points to close at 3,882.00, the German DAX index added 51.58 points to close at 2,876.26, and the French CAC-40 index gained 7.40 points at to close at 2,902.56.

Asian stock markets lost ground after the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.7 percent overnight, its biggest fall since March 31, following a disappointing earnings report from Coca-Cola Co.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei average fell 0.73 percent to 7,821.90. Weakness in the dollar sent Japanese exporters lower, as investors worried their exports would become more expensive.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid just over 1.1 percent to 8,579.14, while in Taiwan, the main TAIEX fell 0.93 percent to 4,566.66. Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.76 percent to 1,282.51.

In Kuala Lumpur, the main index declined 0.38 percent to 631.37 in light trading. The benchmark Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index finished down 0.49 percent at 384.63 points.

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