- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday broke the 9,000 mark for the first time since early January.

The gains follow a report showing the sales of existing homes increased for the third straight month, sending the Dow and the other major indexes up more than 2 percent.

The Dow was at 9,055.46, up 203.97 points in late-day trading. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock Index was up 24.46 points, to 978.53, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was at 1,974.90, up 48.52 points.

The National Association of Realtors reported a 3.6 percent increase in June home sales, exceeding investors’ expectations and boosting hopes that the slumping housing industry might be recovering along with other sectors of the economy.

Investors also were upbeat about Ford Motor Co. reporting Thursday a second-quarter profit of $2.3 billion. They appeared undaunted by the Labor Department’s weekly unemployment report, which showed a larger-than-expected increase in new jobless claims. The agency reported that continuing claims dropped to the lowest level since mid-April.

The markets have been on a rally since hitting a 12-year low in early March but have struggled in June and the first weeks of July.

They regained momentum early last week following upbeat second-quarter reports by such companies as Intel Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“The numbers are good but the bar has been set pretty low,” said Brian Lipps, a Charles Schwab & Co. branch manager. “Companies have done a good job managing expenses, which is why you see some of this unemployment. But for a sustained rally there’s going to have to be top-line revenue growth.”

Oil prices increased $1.76 to $67.16 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average closed up 0.72 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.47 percent, while Germany’s DAX index increased 2.45 percent and France’s CAC-40 rose 2.08 percent.

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