- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2009

UPDATED:

Wall Street closed Friday with gains, extending its rally into a fourth month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average close at 8,500, up 99 points. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stocks Index closed at 919.14, up 12.31 points, and the tech-heavy NASDAQ closed at 1,774.33, up 22.54 points.

The gains followed a Commerce Department report confirming that the economy shrank in the first quarter but not as much as it first reported.

The gross domestic product fell at a revised 5.7 percent pace in the first quarter, better than the 6.1 percent decline first estimated last month but worse than the 5.5 percent decline economists were expecting. The GDP is the output of U.S. goods and services and a major economic indicator.

The markets are up roughly 25 percent since hitting a 12-year low in early March with analysts saying major U.S. banks and most other sectors of the economy appear to be stabilizing.

However, the rally has wavered this month as investors look for clearer signs about when the 18-month-long recession will end, amid continuing unemployment, the struggling housing and automobile industries, and a shaky global economy.

Analysts are uncertain about how the markets will react if General Motors Corp. files for bankruptcy Monday as expected.

GM stock closed at 80 cents, down 32 cents.

Concerns about rising interest rates and the increasing price of oil and other commodities have become a bigger concern in the past few weeks.

However, government bonds increased Thursday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite the price, was at 3.54, down 0.21 from the six-month high of 3.75 percent Wednesday.

Light, sweet crude increased $1.23 cents, to $66.31 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange — a six-month high.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.75 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.69 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.16 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.43 percent.

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