US securities sector gains on earnings news

| December 14, 2006 | 0 Comments

The New York equities markets were higher at noon on Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new record high at one point in morning trade. The Dow dropped back a bit but was still 0.5 percent higher to 12,394.25 at midday. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was up 1 percent to 2,456.69 and the S&P 500 had gained 0.6 percent to 1,422.32. The gains came as Citigroup set new targets for the Dow and the S&P at 14,000 and 1,600 respectively for 2007.

The securities sector was higher on good earnings news. Lehman Brothers said that its earnings were at $1.72 per share, higher than the expected $1.68 per share. The announcement sent the broker’s shares up 0.2 percent to $76.55. Bear Stearns was 1.7 percent higher to $158.56 on fourth quarter earnings of $4 per share, well above the $3.36 per share that had been expected.

Earnings news also helped Costco. The wholesale retailer said that its earnings were at 51 cents per share in its fiscal first quarter, a penny better than the predicted 50 cents per share. Costco shares gained 2.2 percent to trade at $54.29.

Losers on the day included defense communications systems contractor Argon ST, which dropped 7.4 percent to $19.81 after it said that its fourth quarter profits had fallen by 32 percent.

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