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wallstreet – Bargain-hunting lifts volatile stock markets

NEW YORK – US STOCKS rose on Friday after a day of sharp price swings.

The S&P 500 narrowly averted a third straight week of losses as bargain-hunting lifted the beaten-down technology sector while shares of oil companies advanced on buoyant crude prices.

After see-sawing through most of the day as the market was buffeted by worries over the housing slump and the credit crisis, major indexes mounted a swift upturn in the last half-hour of trade as investors bid up shares of technology companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard Co.

Plans for an additional US$10 billion (S$14.5 billion) share repurchase by network equipment maker Cisco Systems also buoyed sentiment in tech shares, helping the Nasdaq to snap a two-day losing streak.

‘I am buying here,’ said Mr Jeffrey Kleintop, who helps to oversee about US$163 billion as chief market strategist at LPL Financial Group in Boston. ‘It’s very hard to push this market down.’

Investors also bought up shares of companies seen as better positioned to withstand an economic slowdown, such as consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co, helping to underpin the broader market.

But shares of financial services companies, including Citigroup Inc, fell on persistent worry that losses from mortgage defaults and the housing slump may worsen.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66.74 points, or 0.51 per cent, to close at 13,176.79. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 7.59 points, or 0.52 per cent, to end at 1,458.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 18.73 points, or 0.72 per cent, to finish at 2,637.24.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.03 per cent while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each ended 0.35 per cent higher.

Among tech companies, shares of Research In Motion, Garmin, Apple, Cisco and digital map maker Tele Atlas NV rose; while among energy company shares, Chevron Corp was a winner.

Among financials, Citigroup Inc, the No. 1 US bank and a Dow component, fell 1.7 per cent to US$34.


Source: Reuters (The Sunday Times 18 Nov 07)

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