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US stocks back in positive territory

world Updated: May 02, 2009 10:43 IST

All three major US stock indices ended on Friday in positive territory on increased commodity demand and improving consumer sentiment. Two measures of US manufacturing and consumer confidence in April surprised analysts by jumping to the highest levels since the credit crisis exploded in September, Bloomberg financial news reported.

The Institute for Supply Managements factory index rose to 40.1 from 36.3 in March; readings less than 50 signal a contraction. The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment jumped by the most in more than two years, climbing to 65.1.

First-quarter earnings season has been phenomenally strong. We thought it was going to be an absolute disaster," Philip Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors Inc. in New York, told Bloomberg financial news service.

MasterCard Inc reported an 18-per-cent decline in first-quarter profits as credit card spending fell amid the widening recession.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 44.29 points, or 0.54 percent, to 8,212.41. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 4.71 points, or 0.54 percent, to 877.52. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.90 points, or 0.11 perCent, to 1,719.2.

The US currency lost against the euro to 75.34 euro cents from 75.58 euro cents on Thursday. The dollar rose against the Japanese currency to 99.12 yen from 98.65 yen on Thursday.