March 11th, 2010
06:01 PM ET

Stocks gain, the dollar is mixed

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks manage gains

Stocks gained Thursday, erasing earlier losses to lift the Nasdaq and S&P 500 to 18-month highs, as investors eyed the day's jobs and trade news and the direction of the U.S. dollar.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 44 points or 0.2% according to early tallies, ending at a six-month high.

The S&P 500 index added 5 points or 0.5%, ending at an 18-month high. The Nasdaq composite gained 3 points, or 0.1%, after ending the previous session at a fresh 18-month high.

Dollar mixed after jobs, trade data

The dollar slipped against the euro and the pound Thursday but rose against the yen as investors digested mixed U.S. economic news.

What prices are doing: The dollar edged 0.2% lower on the euro to $1.3678 and fell 0.6% versus the pound to $1.5036. The buck was flat against the yen at ¥90.52.

Oil inches higher

Oil prices eked out gains, as the risk of an overheated Chinese economy and higher continuing jobless claims stifled traders.

What prices are doing: Crude for April delivery rose 2 cents to settle at $82.11 a barrel.

What's moving the market:  Traders kept an eye on Chinese demand and the U.S. government's weekly employment report.

The Labor Department reported that continuing jobless claims rose, triggering concerns over a jobless economic recovery. Oil prices fell to an intraday low of $81.33.

Long-term debt prices rise after auction

Long-term U.S. debt prices rose after a government auction of $13 billion in 30-year bonds.

What prices are doing: After the auction, the 30-year bond rose 16/32 to 99-13/32 and its yield fell to 4.665 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The benchmark 10-year note rose 1/32 to 99-7/32, with a yield of 3.723 percent.      

Short-term notes fell after the auction. The 2-year note fell 3/32 to 99-28/32, with a yield of 0.956 percent. The 5-year note fell 4/32 to 99-28/32, with a yield of 2.41 percent.

What's moving the market: Thursday's 30-year-bond auction marked the last of the government's $74 billion offerings in notes and bonds this week. Demand was strong in the 3-year note sale Tuesday, the 10-year note auction Wednesday and continued to hold strong on Thursday. reporters Alexandra Twin, Hibah Yousuf, Annalyn Censky and Chavon Sutton contributed to this report.

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