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While you were sleeping: Businesswire overnight wrap

Friday 4th July 2008

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The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 ended higher, though most US stocks fell, in a shortened session on Thursday ahead of the July 4th holiday as June's jobs report eased some concerns about waning growth the world's biggest economy.

The US Labour department said non-farm payrolls were cut by 62,000 in June, as expected and far less than some of the most bearish analysts had feared. The jobless rate was unchanged at 5.5%.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73.03 points, or 0.65%, to 11,288.54, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index eked out a gain of 1.38 points, or 0.11%, to 1,262.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 6.08 points, or 0.27%, to 2,245.38.

More than five stocks retreated for every three that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. US exchanges closed at 1pm New York time ahead of the Independence Day holiday.

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia sank $5.54 to $12.49, the lowest since July 2006, accounting for most of the drop in the Nasdaq. Sales this quarter would fall to between $875 million and $975 million, the company said.

During the session, the S&P 500 fell below the 1,252.12 threshold that marks a 20% bear market retreat. The slide was limited by a third straight rally in Lehman Brothers Holdings securities firm.

Oil's Ascent

Exxon Mobil shares rose 1%, to $88.27 and Chevron rose 1.2%, to $98.63. US oil futures gained 74 cents to $144.32 a barrel, having earlier hit an all-time high of $145.85.

For the week, the Dow ended down 0.5%, the S&P 500 finished 1.2% lower and the Nasdaq shed 3%. This was the fifth straight weekly decline for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, and the Dow's third straight week of losses.

The US dollar advanced after the president of the European central bank signaled that there were no more immediate plans to increase interest rates beyond the as-expected 25 basis point hike to 4.25% on Thursday.

ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet said in remarks after the decision he had "no bias" towards monetary policy.

The US dollar has lagged in recent weeks amid concern that the gap between rates in Europe and the U.S. were poised to widen because of the perception that the ECB had more flexibility to increase rates to combat inflation than the Federal Reserve.

Euro's Drop

In mid-afternoon trading in New York, the euro fell 1.2% lower on the day at $1.5694, its biggest one-day drop since April 24 at current prices. The dollar rose 1% against a basket of currencies and last traded at 72.765.

The unexpected policy by the ECB led to a volatile trading day in Europe, with banks advancing.

Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.9% to 283.10, reversing earlier declines of as much as 1.7%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index briefly fell into a bear market before rebounding. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed the session at 1,178.04, showing a 0.9% gain - the index swung between losses of up to 1.6% cent and a gain of 1.2%.

Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.8% and Paris' CAC 40 rose 1.1%.

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