Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Stocks hit 6-week highs
on positive jobs outlook

U.S. stocks rose, sending benchmark indexes to six-week highs, on optimism employment growth will spur the economy.

"The economy is recovering and that's boosting corporate profits," said Joseph Stocke, who helps manage $600 million as chief investment officer of StoneRidge Investment Partners in Malvern, Penn. "Profits should drive the stock market."

ImClone Systems Inc. led drugmakers higher after a study showed its Erbitux medicine helped some cancer patients live longer. Pfizer Inc., which said its experimental kidney-cancer drug helped shrink or stall tumors in patients, rose.

The S&P 500 added 17.92, or 1.6 percent, to 1140.42, for its third-biggest gain this year. All 10 of its industry groups advanced. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 148.26, or 1.5 percent, to 10,391.08, as 28 of its 30 members rose. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 42, or 2.1 percent, to 2020.62, erasing its loss for the year.

More than three stocks advanced for every one that declined on the New York Stock Exchange. Some 1.2 billion shares changed hands on the Big Board, 17 percent less than the three-month daily average.

The Labor Department said Friday that U.S. employers added 248,000 workers in May, completing the best five months of job growth since 2000. Stocks rose after the report, sending the S&P 500 to its first back-to-back weekly advance in three months.

Today, the S&P 500 rose to its highest since April 23, while the Dow average and the Nasdaq finished at levels not seen since April 27.

The price of the Treasury's 10-year note closed up 332 point, while its yield fell to 4.76 percent from 4.78 percent Friday. Two-year Treasury notes rose 116 point and yielded 2.59 percent, down from 2.69 percent Friday.

U.S. stock markets will close Friday to mark the funeral of former President Reagan, according to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market. The 40th president died Saturday at his California home at the age of 93.

ImClone, which won its first U.S. approval for Erbitux in February, surged $8.89 to $81.38 after researchers said the medicine helped patients with head and neck cancers live twice as long as those getting standard treatment.

The findings were announced at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in New Orleans. ImClone is developing the drug with Merck KGaA, Germany's No. 4 drugmaker. Merck KgaA is unrelated to the U.S.-based Merck & Co.

Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, climbed 40 cents to $36.02. The company said over the weekend its SU11248 drug helped shrink or stall tumors in more than two-thirds of patients in a study. Pfizer also said its cholesterol drug Lipitor "significantly" reduced heart attacks and strokes in patients with diabetes.

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