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While you were sleeping Bulls keep upper hand

Tuesday 7th May 2013

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Wall Street climbed to fresh records, carrying the momentum from Friday's jobs data into renewed optimism about the US economy and corporate profits.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.05 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.32 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.47 percent. The S&P 500 touched a record 1,619.77 earlier in the session.

"Until we see a clear change in momentum, pullbacks should still be viewed as long-term buying opportunities," Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, told Reuters.

Shares of Apple gained, last up 2.4 percent, after Barclays lifted its price target on the stock.

The bright mood on the economic outlook and the appeal of equities are dampening demand for fixed-income securities, while investors also are gearing up for US Treasury debt sales in the next three days.

The US is set to auction US$32 billion in three-year notes on Tuesday, US$24 billion in 10-year securities on Wednesday and US$16 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday.

"The good jobs report and the auctions are weighing on the (fixed-income) market," Brian Edmonds, head of interest rates at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York, one of 21 primary dealers that trade with the Federal Reserve, told Bloomberg. "One decent number aside, not much has changed, as the economy is still weak and the Fed is still buying. We are nearing the top of the yield range and these cheaper levels should bring in decent demand to the auction process."

Not everyone agrees with that assessment. "Bonds, they're terrible investments now," Warren Buffett told CNBC on Monday. When interest rates start to rise, "people could lose a lot of money if they're in long-term bonds."

Stocks, meanwhile, are "reasonably priced," he said.

Europe's benchmark Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a slide of just under 0.1 percent, retreating from the highest close in nearly five years on Friday.

Germany's DAX slipped 0.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 fell 0.2 percent. UK markets were closed today.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi stressed that he is ready to bolster the euro-zone economy further, if needed. Last week, the ECB cut its key rate to a record low 0.5 percent.

"We will be looking at all the data that arrives from the euro-area economy in the coming weeks and if necessary, we are ready to act again," Draghi said in a speech in Rome. "Monetary policy will remain accommodative."

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BusinessDesk.co.nz



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