- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003

NEW YORK, March 13 (UPI) — The Dow Jones industrial average was up 111.14 points at 7,663.21, while Nasdaq was 22.58 points stronger at 1,301.82, early Thursday afternoon.

Stronger European markets, an apparent easing of geopolitical tension and some positive U.S. economic data attracted buyers.

The broader New York Stock Exchange composite index was up 65.24 points at 4,551.94, while the Standard & Poor's 500 was 10.78 points stronger at 814.97. The American Stock Exchange composite index was up 4.66 points at 816.39, while the Wilshire 5000 Index was up 96.74 points at 7,727.82.

Volume was high, with an estimated 636.54 million shares trading on the Big Board and 651.53 million on the Nasdaq.

Investors were encouraged by economic data that suggested some improvement in the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for the latest week fell to 420,000, down 15,000 from a week earlier.

The Commerce Department said that while February retail sales slid 1.6 percent, it revised up its January data to show a 0.3 percent gain, vs. the 0.9 percent decline initially estimated.

U.S. Treasury prices eased. The 10-year bond was down 26/32 to 102 20/32. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, rose to 3.68 percent from 3.58 percent late Wednesday.

Shares soared in London, Frankfurt and Paris. The London International Stock Exchange's blue-chip FTSE-100 index was up 175.00 points, or 5.32 percent, at 3,462.00, while the German DAX index was up 99.89 points, or 4.53 percent, at 2,302.85, and the French CAC-40 index soared 138.33 points, or 5.76 percent, at 2,541.37.

Most Asian markets declined Thursday after a small rebound as investors quickly took profits.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.9 percent to 7,868.56, with investors awaiting details from the government on possible measures to boost weak stock prices.

In Taiwan, the main TAIEX index rose 1.17 percent to 4,378.99 on bargain-hunting.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index lost 0.99 percent to finish at 8,787.45. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index finished down 0.03 points at 531.78, with last-minute buying interest lifting the index at the close.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index declined 0.2 percent to 1,231.77. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 0.26 percent to 627.46 points.

The Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.88 percent to 383.86 points in quiet trading.

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