new yorkDennis Seid 3/25/09
Stocks manage gain
after erratic session
n NEW YORK – Wall Street managed a moderate gain after an attack of nerves had investors giving back a big early advance and then barreling back into the market right before the close.
Trading was extremely erratic – the Dow Jones industrials rose as much as 203 points in early trading in response to upbeat economic data, then fell nearly 110 during the afternoon before closing up 90.
The Dow closed up 89.94, or 1.17 percent, at 7,749.81, while the Standard amp& Poor’s 500 index rose 7.63, or 0.95 percent, to 813.88 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 12.43, or 0.82 percent, to 1,528.95.
rise on refinancing jump
n Mortgage applications surged last week, coming mostly from borrowers looking to refinance at sharply lower rates after the Federal Reserve unveiled plans to buy Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday its weekly application index climbed 32.2 percent for the week ended March 20. The index came in at 1159.4, up from 876.9 a week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index rose 31.4 percent compared with the previous week, the trade group said.
About 78.5 percent of applications came from borrowers seeking to refinance home loans at lower rates, rather than purchase homes.
Nation’s exports tumble
as car sales decline
n TOKYO – Japan’s exports – once a key driver of growth – tumbled faster than ever in February as a deteriorating economy forced consumers on every continent to put the brakes on buying new cars. Overseas shipments in Februrary plunged 49.4 percent from a year earlier, the government said. The figure marks the sharpest decline in the world’s second-largest economy since 1980.
the Finance Ministry began compiling comparable data in 1980.
The International Monetary Fund expects Japan’s economy to contract 5.8 percent for the 2009 calendar year, though many economists predict it could be far worse.