US stocks rise ahead of monthly unemployment report

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NEW YORK - US stocks posted modest gains Thursday on the eve of the government’s release of its highly anticipated monthly jobs report.

Investors were buoyed by profit gains from some retailers and falling weekly claims for jobless benefits in the US ahead of the government release Friday of unemployment figures for January.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the US economic recovery “appears to have strengthened in recent months” and would continue gaining through the year, though growth had yet to pick up enough to cut the jobless rate, which has stubbornly remained above 9 percent.

The gains overshadowed protests that have turned violent in Egypt, as President Hosni Mubarak insisted he would stay in power until his term ends in September.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20.29 points, or 0.17 percent, to 12,062.26. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500 Index added 3.07 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,307.1. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.32 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,753.88.

The US currency soared against the euro to 73.35 euro cents from 72.43 euro cents Wednesday, after the European Central Bank kept interest rates at 1 percent and its chief, Jean-Claude Trichet, tamped down market expectations of an upcoming rate increase.

The dollar edged up against the Japanese currency to 81.68 yen from 81.55 yen.

Filed under: Economy

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