Global stocks edge higher, euro falls broadly

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose for a sixth straight day on Thursday on another round of results that beat expectations but the euro fell (Read more about the trembling euro. ) broadly amid renewed uncertainty over whether Greece will seek money from a bailout package.

A stronger U.S. dollar kept a lid on most commodity prices while U.S. Treasuries rose as dour news in the labor market overshadowed signs of improvement elsewhere in the economy.

U.S. oil prices ended lower as the firmer dollar and mixed U.S. economic data pulled crude back from earlier gains that followed data showing an annual growth rate in China of 11.9 percent, the fastest pace since 2007.

An upbeat profit forecast from United Parcel Service (UPS.N: ) lifted U.S. transportation shares, but concerns about a rise in weekly jobless claims limited Wall Street’s gains.

New U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly soared last week to a seasonally adjusted 484,000 due to applications delayed by the Easter holiday. Markets had expected a dip to 440,000.

“We continue to see better-than-expected numbers across a variety of sectors, which shows economic improvement,” said Channing Smith, vice president of Capital Advisors, Tulsa, Oklahoma. “But ultimately we need to see good labor market data to confirm that the recovery is in place.”

Shares of UPS rose 5.3 percent after it posted results from the first quarter that were sharply above consensus and the company raised its profit outlook, the latest bellwether to exceed expectations this earnings season.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) closed up 21.46 points, or 0.19 percent, at 11,144.57. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 1.02 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,211.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 10.83 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,515.69.

Concerns over any Greek aid added to the allure of safe-haven bonds and gold even after Greece asked for official talks with European authorities and the International Monetary Fund, a step toward Athens obtaining emergency loans.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were trading 6/32 higher in price to yield 3.84 percent.

The euro fell (Read more about the trembling euro. ) broadly, snapping five straight days of gains, while the cost of insuring against a Greek default rose and the Greek-German government bond yield spread widened to near record levels.

The euro was on track for its biggest one-day fall against the dollar in three weeks, off 0.5 percent at $1.3574.

The yield spread of 10-year Greek government bonds against German Bunds closed slightly wider at 413 basis points after widening to 436 basis points earlier in the session.

“There was all this talk from the capitals in Europe saying they have to pass legislation first in order to get the loans going,” said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist, at WestPac in New York. “Then Germany is saying Greece needs to approach it before it can pass legislation. That has caused a bit of consternation and concern.”

U.S. gold futures ended a tad higher, despite a dollar rise, as persistent worries about Greece prompted buying.

The June contract settled up 70 cents at $1,160.30 an ounce.

U.S. oil prices ended lower as the stronger dollar and mixed economic data pulled crude back from earlier gains that followed robust Chinese gross domestic product.

Front-month U.S. crude for May delivery fell 33 cents, or 0.38 percent, to settle at $85.51 a barrel, after ending 2 percent higher the previous day.

ICE Brent crude for May rose $1.02 to settle at $87.17, highest close since front-month Brent ended at $90.25 on October 3, 2008. Brent’s $87.58 intraday peak was the highest since $87.99 was struck on October 7, 2008.

The dollar was up against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index (.DXY: ) up 0.51 percent at 80.602.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was down 0.18 percent at 93.03.

Investment Analysis

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Burton Frierson, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Robert Gibbons in New York; Joanne Frearson, William James and Jan Harvey in London; writing by Herbert Lash; Editing by Diane Craft)

Global stocks edge higher, euro falls broadly