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While you were sleeping Dow extends record run

Thursday 7th March 2013

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After hitting a fresh intraday high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up some of those gains as investors looked for a fresh catalyst to extend the rally.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was last up 0.23 percent to 14,285.91 after climbing as high as 14,320.65 earlier in the session. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged 0.03 percent lower, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.10 percent.

Today's US economic indicators provide even more reason to be optimistic with better-than-expected data on jobs and promising signs on manufacturing.

Private employers added 198,000 jobs to their payrolls in February, according to the ADP National Employment Report showed. Orders for manufactured goods fell 2.0 percent in January, though orders for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft jumped 7.2 percent, according to Commerce Department data.

"Manufacturers and business leaders are telling us that demand has picked up, that they are short of inventory and that they are adding workers," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York, told Reuters.

This has made US Treasuries less attractive. The yield on the 10-year note climbed as much as four basis points to 1.94 percent, according to Bloomberg, and last traded at 1.92 percent.

"There is still a lot more cash to be put into equities," JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade, in Chicago, told Reuters. "We are seeing investors moving out of the bond market, but their money is not in the stock market yet. They are still not full believers (of equities) but they are having cash in hand because the rally seems to be continuing, and the valuations are still attractive."

The Federal Reserve is set to release its Beige Book report on the economy later today.

Meanwhile, Johnson Controls, the largest US auto supplier with 2012 sales of more than US$4 billion in car interiors, is exploring a potential sale of its automotive interiors unit, a move that would allow the company to focus on higher-margin building controls and next-generation car batteries, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index gave up 0.3 percent from yesterday's close at a 4-1/2 month high. It was a mixed picture across the region. Key national stock indexes in Frankfurt gained 0.6 percent, while Paris fell 0.4 percent, and London was steady.

Sliding metal prices, including copper, took the wind out of mining stocks, reflecting a rebound in the US dollar.

In the UK, the Bank of England began a two-day policy meeting which some expect will prompt an additional boost to its moribund economy. The ECB meets tomorrow.

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