Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wall Street ends higher; Dow up 141 points & Asian markets trading higher; Nikkei up 2%

US markets ended higher as Merck earnings beat the street and better-than-expected housing report boosted sentiment. Merck was the biggest gainer, rising 6.4%, after the company posted better than estimated earnings and maintained its 2009 outlook.

Investors were also encouraged by Treasury Secretary Geithner's statement that the government will step up efforts to fight the recession.

Banks declined amid jitters over the "bad bank" plan and worries that government stimulus will be too dilutive. And automakers also slipped as December auto sales plunged to a near 27-year low. In economic news, December home sales rose by 6.3%.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 141.53 points, or 1.78%, to 8,078.36. The S&P 500 index rose 13.07 points, or 1.58%, to 838.51, and the Nasdaq composite index added 21.87 points, or 1.46%, to 1,516.30.


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