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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire overnight wrap

Thursday 11th September 2008

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A rebound in shares of energy companies combined with a strong outlook from Texas Instruments and solid earnings from FedEx Corp helped offset lingering concerns about the state of the financial sector.

The S&P 500 advanced 7.53 points, or 0.6%, to 1,232.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 38.19, or 0.3%, to 11,268.92, and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 18.89, or 0.9%, to 2,228.7. More than two stocks rose for each that dropped on the New York Stock Exchange.

Energy shares rose as OPEC said it would cut production, which was seen as an attempt to halt a recent sharp slide in the price of oil. Exxon Mobil rose nearly 3% and was the top boost for the S&P.

Technology shares also rose on relief that chip maker Texas Instruments did not cut its earnings outlook after a spate of recent warnings on consumers' cell phone spending.

Financial shares, however, were broadly lower after Lehman Brothers posted an unexpectedly large quarterly loss on huge mortgage-related write-downs and failed to announce any firm deals to raise desperately needed capital. Shares of Lehman, the No. 4 US investment bank, sank 6.9%, extending Tuesday's 45% slide.

FedEx climbed US$3.11 to US$87.86. Earnings were $US1.23 a share for the period ended Aug. 31, eclipsing the outlook of 80 cents to US$1, FedEx said yesterday after exchanges closed. Analysts expected 95 cents, according to the average of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Rival UPS Inc. added 2.4% to US$66.69.

Stronger dollar

The US dollar rose to the highest in almost a year against the euro, breaking US$1.40 for the first time since last September, as a drop in crude oil prices reduced a burden on US consumers.

The US currency increased 0.9% to US$1.4012 per euro at 4:43pm in New York, from US$1.4133 yesterday. It reached US$1.3993, the strongest level since September 20, 2007. The yen fell 0.7% to 107.60 per dollar, from 106.81. The yen rose 0.2% to 150.71 per euro, from 150.94 yesterday. It touched 150.16, the strongest since August 17, 2007.

The ICE's Dollar Index touched 80.014, the highest level since September 2007, when the US central bank began cutting the target rate for overnight lending between banks from 5.25% to 2% to avoid a recession. The index reached a low of 70.698 on March 17.

The prospect of more Treasury issuance to finance the government's bailout of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weighed on Treasuries prices, particularly on long-dated issues, analysts said.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note price, which moves inversely to its yield, fell 12/32, its yield moving to 3.62%. Thirty-year bonds fell 28/32 in price, for a yield of 4.22%.

Gold tumbled to the lowest price since October on speculation a drop in commodity costs and a stronger dollar will reduce demand for the metal as a hedge against inflation. Silver plunged to the lowest since 2006.

The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials dropped for a ninth straight session and is down as much as 24 percent from a record reached in July. Gold has declined 26% from an all-time high in March and the euro is trading 13% below its July peak against the dollar.

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