Wall Street up despite interest rate worries

| May 4, 2006 | 0 Comments

In New York on Thursday, equities markets were up mid-way through the trading day as several retailers issued good quarterly earnings reports. These reports overcame worries over new data releases that tended to increase the likelihood of further interest rate hikes to offset pressures toward inflation.

At midday the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.4 percent to 11,450.71, the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.8 percent to 2322.16, and the S&P 500 had added 0.4 percent to 1,312.85.

Earnings reports from the retail sector were led by Whole Foods, a supermarket chain that specializes in organic foods, which saw a 27 percent hike in profits in the quarter, ahead of predictions, and an increased sales outlook for the year. Shares in Whole Foods were up by 11.7 percent to $69.42. Other retailers with good reports included Talbots, which added 8.37 percent to $25.50, and Abercrombie and Fitch, up 2.3 percent to $61.75.

In the transport sector, Expeditors International gained 18.4 percent to $104.18 after it raised its divident by over 40 percent and said that its earnings per share were 20 percent above what had been forecast. Federal Express also saw a gain, adding 2.6 percent to $117.13. These helped the Dow Jones Transportation index, which was up 3.4 percent so far during the session and has added 17 percent so far this year.

Apple Computer has now gained back half of the 31 percent in share price that it lost in the first quarter of the year and was up 1.4 percent so far in the session to $72.15.

Among the days losers, Archer Daniels Midland dropped 5.3 percent to $41.01 on a downgrade to “neutral” on sustainability concerns. Before the loss the company, which makes ethanol among other activities, had added 21 percent since last week and 77 on the year so far.

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