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Wall Street cheers strong gains in 1st quarter
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-04-01 07:17
U.S stocks traded mixed in the last trading day of the first quarter, with blue chips achieving the best quarterly gains since 1998.

Investors were concerned that a possible inflation risk might hurt the U.S. economic recovery as oil prices on Thursday hit the highest level since September 2008. Meanwhile, the market stayed uneasy as many markets-affecting issues, such as the nuclear leakage incidents in quake-hit Japan and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, remained unsettled.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 18.

On the economic front, the U.S. jobless data last week showed the jobs market was still on the track of improving. The Labor Department posted that initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, which was mostly in line with analysts' previous estimates.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods fell 0.1 percent to 446 billion dollars, after an upwardly revised 3.3 percent gain in January.

As for stocks, basic materials still led the gainers on Thursday. Transportation and energy sectors were also among the biggest winners but financial shares were down 0.23 percent as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rejected American International Group's plan to repurchase a risky set of mortgage-backed securities late Wednesday.

AIG declined 2.52 percent on Thursday, and the Bank of America, the other gauge stock of financial shares, closed with a 0.89 percent drop.

Moreover, news overseas stirred U.S. markets on Thursday as euro zone inflation posted a higher-than-expected level of 2.6 percent in March, raising investors' expectation that the European Central Bank would raise interest in the coming month.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 30.88 points, or 0.25 percent, to 12,319.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 2.43 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1325.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4. 28 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2781.07.

Source:Xinhuanet 
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