Stocks climb for second straight day on Microsoft-Yahoo offer

Business Materials 2 February 2008 02:39 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- US stocks climbed higher Friday on Microsoft's nearly 45-billion-dollar offer for Yahoo, which trumped news of the first monthly decline in jobs in more than four years.

Microsoft made an unsolicited bid of 44.6 billion dollars for Yahoo in an effort to keep up with search engine leader Google, sending Yahoo's shares surging nearly 50 per cent.

The possible merger sparked speculation that the economy may be on an upswing, but the Labour Department reported earlier Friday that 17,000 jobs were lost in January - the first decline in job growth in 52 months. Unemployment dropped 0.1 per cent in the month to 4.9 per cent.

President George W Bush acknowledged that the jobless data was another "serious sign" that the economy was weakening and urged Congress to quickly pass a 150-billion-dollar stimulus package.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 92.83 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 12,743.19. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 16.87 points, or 1.22 per cent, to 1,395.42. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 23.50 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 2,413.36.

After a disastrous month of January, stocks were up for the week. The Dow gained 4.4 per cent, the S& P 500 was up 4.9 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 3.8 per cent.

The US currency edged up against the euro to 65.59 euro cents from 67.27 euro cents on Wednesday and climbed to 106.50 Japanese yen from 106.38.

Gold dropped 18.80 dollars to 909.20 dollars per fine ounce in New York.