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CLOSING MARKET REPORT – Wall St lifted higher by retailers, banks

NEW YORK – US stocks rebounded on Friday in an abbreviated session as the start of holiday shopping lifted retail stocks, while progress in a plan to relieve the credit market’s strain aided bank shares.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup all rose more than 2 per cent. The three banks, spearheading an effort to establish a superfund to ease problems in the credit market, are expected to seek support from others in the industry, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Discount chain Target led retailers higher as droves of shoppers turned out – in some cases before dawn – for Black Friday, the official beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Trading volume was thin in the shortened session. US financial markets were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. On Wednesday stocks suffered heavy losses on credit market and housing sector worries.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 181.84 points, or 1.42 per cent, at 12,980.88. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 23.93 points, or 1.69 per cent, at 1,440.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 34.45 points, or 1.34 per cent, at 2,596.60.

JPMorgan shares rose 3 per cent to US$41.90. Bank of America stock was up 2.4 per cent to US$43.13 and Citigroup stock climbed 3.2 per cent to US$31.70.

Consumers, many with the day off from work, visited stores and shopping centers in search of bargains.

Chains refer to the day after Thanksgiving as ‘Black Friday’ because it once marked the day many retailers turned a profit and went into the black for the year.

Shares of J.C. Penney, which last week cut its forecast for the holiday season, were up 3.1 per cent to US $41.30. Target’s stock jumped 5.7 per cent to US$57.17.

Boeing’s stock rose after the chief executive of Airbus, Boeing’s chief rival, said the weakness of the dollar is ‘life-threatening’ for the European aircraft maker. Boeing shares were up 2.4 per cent to US $89.54.


Source: REUTERS (24 Nov 07)


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