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Stock market starts 3Q on high note

July 02, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Investors kicked off the stock market's third quarter Wednesday with a moderate gain after getting some reassuring data on manufacturing and housing.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed nearly 60 points, rebounding from an 82-point decline Tuesday that was triggered by a drop in consumer confidence.

The buying was tempered by caution about the Labor Department's report due today on the job market.

The report is expected to show that the unemployment rate in June rose to 9.6%, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Rising joblessness has been keeping investors nervous about consumer spending -- a major driver of economic growth.

Much of Wednesday's economic news was upbeat, including a report showing more stable manufacturing activity in the United States, and another indicating a fourth straight monthly rise in pending home sales. Stocks also got a boost from European markets, which rose on similarly positive manufacturing data in that region.

Not all of the economic news was upbeat, however. Construction spending fell in May more than the market expected. And the private sector cut more jobs in June than anticipated, according to a private report.

The Dow gained 57.06 points, or 0.7%, to 8,504.06. During the session it was up as much as 144 points before pulling back.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.01 points, or 0.4%, to 923.33. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 10.68 points, or 0.6%, to 1,845.72.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies rose 1.8%.

About three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light.

In other market highlights:

* General Mills climbed 3.9% after the maker of Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled. The firm also forecast 2010 earnings above analysts' expectations.

* Oil futures fell 58 cents to $69.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold rose $13.90 to $941 an ounce.

* Overseas, key stock indexes rose 2.2% in Britain, 2% in Germany and 2.4% in France. Shares fell 0.2% in Japan.

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