- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street extended its winning streak into a third day yesterday after the Labor Department announced that businesses had added new jobs for the first time since January.

The news cheered investors who have been nervous that weak employment could derail the economic recovery. Many also were picking up shares on anticipation that quarterly earnings will be strong.

Investors “got good news and they rejoiced,” said Larry Wachtel, market analyst at Wachovia Securities. “It was a good-looking job figure. … That and the fact that we’re approaching the third-quarter earnings season and people are ratcheting up earnings expectations, the climate is OK.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 84.51, or 0.9 percent, at 9,572.31, following a two-day gain of 212.74. Earlier in the day, the blue-chip average rose as much as 178.73 points.

The broader market also finished sharply higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 44.35, or 2.4 percent, to 1,880.57. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 9.61, or 0.9 percent, to 1,029.85.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.8 percent, the Nasdaq gained 4.9 percent and the S&P; advanced 3.3 percent. All three indexes recouped a substantial amount of the heavy losses suffered last week.

The Labor Department reported yesterday that the nation’s unemployment rate remained at 6.1 percent in September with businesses adding 57,000 jobs — the first gain in eight months. Economists had projected an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent with a loss of 25,000 more jobs.

“We’re in the beginning of an economic recovery, and investors at this point need confidence the economy is sustainable,” said John C. Forelli, portfolio manager for Independence Investment LLC in Boston.

Stocks have lurched up and down the past few weeks as investors, having sent the market higher since mid-March, wonder whether valuations might be too high. Analysts say investors will be closely watching the upcoming third-quarter earnings season for signs of solid growth.

Siebel Systems Inc. rose 45 cents to $11, although the software company said it expected third-quarter revenue to fall below expectations.

3M gained $1.75 to $73.03 after Lehman Brothers raised the stock rating of the maker of Scotch tape to “overweight” from “equal-weight.”

Starbucks Corp. advanced 79 cents to $30.22 after the coffee-shop chain said September sales rose 9 percent.

Decliners included Biovail Corp., which fell $6.67, or 17.7 percent, to $31.10, after the pharmaceutical company said its third-quarter revenues will be below analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume was heavy at 1.95 billion shares, compared with 1.60 billion traded Thursday.

The Russell 2000 index, a barometer of smaller company stocks, rose 9.08, or 1.8 percent, to 512.28.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average finished 1.1 percent higher Thursday. In Europe, France’s CAC-40 advanced 3.2 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent and Germany’s DAX index gained 4.3 percent.

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