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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire weekend wrap

Monday 28th July 2008

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Oil extended its slide on Friday and better-than-expected economic data in the US helped Wall Street end on a positive note as investors sought reports of good news.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 5.22 points, or 0.4%, to 1,257.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 21.41 to 11,370.69. The Nasdaq added 30.42, or 1.3%, to 2,310.53. Nine stocks climbed for every five that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
For the week, the Dow fell 1.1% and the S&P 500 dipped 0.2%, while the Nasdaq rose 1.2%.

US oil futures slid $2.23 to settle at $123.26 a barrel.

Consumer sentiment in the US rebounded unexpectedly this month after falling to levels last seen in the early 1980s, as tax rebate checks helped offset high gas prices, while new home sales in July were not as weak as expected.

McDonald's Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Juniper Networks, United Technologies and Pulte Homes all gained.

The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment increased to 61.2 in July from 56.4 in June. Economists had forecast a reading of 56.4 in July.

Japan's currency fell 0.5% to 107.88 versus the dollar at 4:27pm on Friday in New York, from 107.33 on Thursday. The yen dropped 0.6% to 169.36 per euro, from 168.28, after reaching a record low of 169.96 on July 23. The dollar fell 0.1% to $1.5698 per euro, from $1.5677.

Stronger Dollar

The US currency posted a 0.9% increase against the euro last week, the biggest since mid-June, and advanced 0.9% versus the yen. Japan's currency was little changed against the euro.

The US dollar will appreciate to $1.50 against the euro by year-end, according to Lehman, which increased bets on the currency's gain yesterday to 20% of its investment portfolio from 10%.

US government debt prices fell on Friday after the better-than-expected economic data.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes traded 26/32 lower in price for a yield of 4.11% from 4.00% late on Thursday, while 2-year notes traded 7/32 lower for a yield of 2.72% from 2.61%.

Five-year Treasury notes traded 14/32 lower in price for a yield of 3.45% from 3.33% late on Thursday, while the 30-year bond traded 1-11/32 lower for a yield of 4.69% from 4.60%.

Spot gold was at $927.40/929.40 an ounce by New York's last quote at 2:15pm on Friday, down from $923.00/924.00 late in New York on Thursday.

Nickel headed for the biggest weekly decline in London in four months as stainless-steel mills, the biggest users of the metal, said demand is weakening. Copper and aluminum increased.

The contract for delivery in three months fell as much as $535, or 2.9%, to $18,240 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest intraday price since June 15, 2006. It traded at $18,300 as of 4:06pm, heading for a weekly loss of 10%.

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