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MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia - 02/12/2012

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Trade in U.S. stocks was choppy overnight as investors continue to be concerned about the implications from the pending fiscal cliff. By the close the major indexes were higher, with the Dow back above 13,000 points with the NASDAQ punching through 3000 points. Stronger economic data propelled the indices despite no agreement from lawmakers.
(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) small rally in U.S. stocks by the close helped push the Dow Jones back above the 13,000 point technical barrier, with the NASDAQ joining the party and pushing through 3000 points.

By the close the Dow had gained 37 points (0.28%) to 13,022, while the NASDAQ rallying 20 points (0.68%) to 3012.

House Speaker John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner declared that "no substantive progress" had been made in talks to reach a budget deal.

Addressing a televised news conference, the Speaker said Democrats were "not serious" about spending cuts.

Lawmakers and the White House have been in talks for months to try and avoid the slew of year end tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy expanded more than initially projected in the third quarter, rising 2.7%, up from an initial estimate of 2%, but just under estimates that forecast a 2.8% rise. The number also compared with a second quarter rate of 1.3%.

The Labor Department said claims for unemployment benefits declined by 23,000 to 393,000 last week. The consensus was for 390,000 claims. The department said there is no indication that states are carrying extra claims from Hurricane Sandy.

The National Association of Realtors also said pending home sales rose 5.2% in October. The consensus estimate was for a 1% rise. Though the hurricane's effect on Northeast sales during November is still a question, today's report points convincingly to building momentum for existing home sales.

Across the pond, two European sentiment reports injected life into the ailing eurozone economy. The European Commission's reading on economic sentiment pushed higher in November, after two months of deceleration. And the EC's business climate indicator also edged higher.

U.S. Corporate News

In corporate news, shares of Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSE:RIM) jumped after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to buy from neutral, lifting its price target on the shares to 16 from 9.

Goldman said the upgrade reflected positive risk/reward prospects for RIM going into the launch of BlackBerry 10

The Thanksgiving shopping weekend couldn't save all retailers' monthly sales results in November, as some, including Macy's (NYSE:M) and Target (NYSE:TGT), were hit too hard earlier on account of Hurricane Sandy.

Excluding drugstores, chains are expected to post a November same-store sales gain of 3.3%, according to Thomson Reuters, down from growth of 3.5% a year earlier.

Grocery store operator Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) Thursday posted a 62 per cent hike in third-quarter profits as stronger revenue was helped by a one-time settlement gain.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) shares also climbed after the Dow component hiked its dividend.

High-end jewellery chain Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) said Thursday that third-quarter earnings slid 30% as the high-end jewelry retailer continued to record weaker margins.


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