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Blue chip stocks edge up on bank's forecast

2/07/2008 - 16:19

By Walker Simon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose on Wednesday after a profit forecast by a major German bank helped return confidence in U.S. financial shares and data showed a stronger-than-expected increase in factory orders in May.

Deutsche Bank , which had been hit with $8 billion in write-downs from the global credit crisis, said it now expects a quarterly profit compared with a loss a year ago and would not need any more capital.

The news lifted spirits on Wall Street, where financial shares have been leading broader indexes lower for some weeks. A sub-index of U.S. bank shares <.BKX> jumped 2.5 percent for the biggest advance in more than a week. Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co jumped 4 percent to $35.38, making them the top gainer on the Dow.

"Deutsche's seeing a profit after a loss and saying it needs no capital has caused a bid in U.S. financials," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.

However, General Motors Corp shares fell 6.9 percent to $10.94 after Merrill Lynch said the automaker will need to raise about $15 billion in cash to shore up liquidity and bankruptcy is "not impossible" if the auto market continues to slump.

A GM spokeswoman said the company has sufficient liquidity to ride out the industry downturn in 2008 and could take more steps to cut costs if conditions worsened.

Shares of Yahoo Inc rallied 7.8 percent to $21.80 after a Wall Street Journal report that the Internet company was again a takeover target by Microsoft Corp , possibly in combination with other acquirers.

New orders at U.S. factories rose by a sharper-than-expected 0.6 percent in May on a boost in orders for new aircraft, a Commerce Department report said.

"It's great every time you see something positive like this come out," said Edward Bretschger, director of equity sales and trading at Calyon Securities. "A positive data point like this may be what is needed to stave off the technical definition of a bear market."

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 41.11 points, or 0.36 percent, at 11,423.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 6.56 points, or 0.51 percent, at 1,291.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 1.69 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,303.28.

(Additional reporting by Deborah Jian Lee; Editing by Kenneth Barry)


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