S&P 500, Nasdaq hit new highs over positive trade data

2013-02-09 01:50:24 GMT2013-02-09 09:50:24(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. stocks wrapped up the week higher for the sixth month in a row on Friday, with the Nasdaq setting a 12-year high and the S&P 500 a 5-year high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 48.92 points, or 0.35 percent, to 13,992.97. The S&P 500 went up 8.54 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,517.93. The Nasdaq climbed 28.74 points, or 0.91 percent, to 3,193.87.

The major stock indices were bolstered by positive trade data across the world.

The U.S. trade deficit in December dropped 21 percent to 38.5 billion U.S. dollars compared with the prior month, the lowest level in nearly three years, the Commerce Department said.

Analysts said the optimistic figure may result in an upgrade of the U.S. fourth-quarter GDP figure, which the Commerce Department first put at minus 0.1 percent, marking the first drop after 13 consecutive quarterly rise.

The stocks were also boosted by stronger-than-expected Chinese trade figures released on Friday, which signaled a robust recovery in the world's second largest economy.

Exports of China in January jumped 25 percent from a year earlier, while imports also surged 28.8 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 29.2 billion dollars, according to official data.

Meanwhile, the German trade surplus in 2012 soared to its second highest level in more than 60 years, pointing to an underlying resilience of Europe's largest economy.

However, U.S. wholesale inventories in December decreased 0.1 percent, falling short of analysts' forecast of a 0.3-percent increase.

The Nasdaq outperformed among the other two indices, underpinned by its largest component Apple. Apple's shares added 1.44 percent to 474.98 dollars as the tech giant may raise its dividend.

In the previous trading day, a hedge fund manager at Greenlight Capital filed a letter with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a lawsuit in a federal court in New York on allegations that Apple's proxy proposal to eliminate preferred stock would hinder the tech giant's ability to unlock value for shareholders.

Additionally, shares of professional networking website LinkedIn surged 21.22 percent to 150.42 dollars, one day after the social networking company announced that its fourth-quarter profit went far beyond Wall Street expectations.

The equity market saw a relatively weak move in this week after an impressive performance in the first month of this year, as investors were awaiting positive catalyst to push the stocks higher.

For the week, the Dow lost 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.5 percent.

On other markets, U.S. crude oil price fell on Friday on rising oil stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, trading hub for U.S. crude future contracts, while Brent crude rose to a 9-month high.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery lost 11 cents, or 0.11 percent, to 95.72 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, it declined 2.05 dollars, or 2.10 percent.

Brent crude for March delivery continued to rise 1.66 dollars, or 1.42 percent to close at 118.90 dollars a barrel, posting a weekly gain of 2.02 dollars, or 1.73 percent.

Meanwhile, the dollar dropped sharply versus the yen after Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said the yen's recent appreciation has been too fast, but it continued rising against the euro following European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's comments on the region's weak economic activity Thursday.

In late New York trading, the euro slid to 1.3362 dollars from 1.3403 dollars of the previous session and the British pound climbed to 1.5797 from 1.5712 dollars.

The dollar rose to 0.9172 Swiss francs from 0.9179 and went up to 1.0028 Canadian dollars from 0.9981. The dollar bought 92.84 Japanese yen, lower than 93.54 in the previous session.

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