Home Economy US stocks extend monthly gains

US stocks extend monthly gains


New York : US stock indices continued their strong monthly showing Thursday on some positive company earnings reports, the latest in a string of better-than-expected economic news in the midst of the US recession.

US electronics chain Best Buy Co, food producer ConAgra Foods Inc and drinks maker Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc led a four-percent rally in consumer shares.

General Motors Corp surged 14 percent after about 7,500 workers accepted the company’s buyout offer, helping the US carmaking giant reduce labour costs.

The positive company news overshadowed a government report that the US economy contracted 6.3 percent in the final quarter of 2008, a slight revision from its 6.2-percent estimate. The White House said it was bracing for another rough growth figure this quarter as the economy battles through its worst recession in decades.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 20 percent since hitting a 12-year low earlier this month and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is posting its best monthly gain since 1974. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index for the first time entered positive territory for 2009.

The blue-chip Dow surged 174.75 points, or 2.25 percent, to 7,924.56. The S&P 500 jumped 18.98 points, or 2.33 percent, to 832.86 and is up 13 percent this month. The Nasdaq rallied 58.05 points, or 3.8 percent, to 1,587.

The US currency climbed against the euro to 73.99 euro cents from 73.62 euro cents on Wednesday and rose to 97.82 Japanese yen from 97.54 yen.