Wall St edges up despite poor data

STOCKS advanced yesterday on Wall?Street but remained hemmed in a recent trading range as disappointing economic data hindered the S&P 500 from breaking through a stubborn technical level.

Markets were pressured early by a report showing a measure of New York state business conditions slipped to the lowest level in more than a year, while industrial output rose at a slower rate in August.

The S&P found support shortly after the reports at its 200-day moving average, climbing back above the 1,115 level.

But the benchmark index was once again unable to pierce the 1,130 threshold, seen as a key resistance level by analysts, which, if breached, could spark further buying.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 46.24 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 10,572.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 3.97 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,125.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 11.55 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 2,301.32.

Among the top decliners, energy shares were pressured by a fall in crude oil prices and technology shares lost ground after some bearish analyst comments.

Equities were little moved after the Japanese government intervened in global currency markets to sell yen for the first time in six years, though the US dollar climbed.

October crude futures settled down 1 per cent to $76.02 per barrel, while the S&P Energy index lost 0.2 per cent.

Chevron slipped 0.4 per cent to $79.21 and was among the top decliners on the Dow.

Fellow Dow component Kraft Foods gained 1.7 per cent to $31.59 after saying it would squeeze another $1bn in revenue from its global business by 2013 as its North American business faces challenges.

Semiconductors edged lower after Goldman Sachs downgraded chipmakers Micron Technology to “neutral” and Maxim Integrated Products to “sell.”

Micron shares lost 4.5 per cent to $6.94 and Maxim shed 0.5 percent to $16.75. The Philadelphia semiconductor index fell 0.3 per cent.

Volume was light with about 6.6bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, well below last year's estimated daily average of 9.65bn.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by about 1.1 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners four to three.