new yorkDennis Seid 5/1/09
Stock prices rise despite
mixed economic reports
n NEW YORK – Wall Street extended its rally into a third month, shrugging off more reminders of the recession and placing cautious bets on an economic recovery.
Stocks ended higher Friday after a day of quiet back-and-forth trading as investors determined that they could add to the gains of March and April despite mixed economic data and earnings reports.
The advance left the stock market’s major gauges with gains of about 1.5 percent for the week.
Wall Street has been growing more optimistic about the economy stabilizing, but the reports Friday confirmed that business conditions remain difficult and that any recovery is likely to be gradual.
A private group’s measure of the manufacturing industry showed a slower contraction in April than March. However a separate government report said orders to U.S. factories fell more than expected in March.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44.29, or 0.5 percent, to 8,212.41. The Samp&P 500 index rose 4.71, or 0.5 percent, to 877.52, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.90, or 0.1 percent, to 1,719.20.
Hancock ends quarter
with about $2.7 million
n BALDWYN – Hancock Fabrics on Friday reported sales of $65.9 million for the quarter ended April 4.
The figure came as part of an unaudited post-confirmation quarterly report Hancock filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Hancock emerged from bankruptcy in August 2008.
Hancock gained nearly $66 million from cash sales, sales of its assets and accounts payable.
But the company reported expenses of $67.5 million during the quarter.
Hancock ended the quarter with about $2.7 million in cash.
New TALF program
to launch in June
n The Federal Reserve announced Friday that it will launch a much-awaited program in June to bolster commercial real-estate lending. And to help make the program more attractive to investors, the Fed will provide longer, five-year loans.
Investors would use the money to buy securities backed by commercial real-estate loans. The goal is to boost the availability of these loans, help prevent defaults on commercial properties likes office parks and malls and facilitate the sale of distressed properties, the Fed said. The new commercial real-estate component is part of a broader program rolled out in March that aims to jump-start lending to consumers and small businesses called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF.
Bank test results
to come Thursday
n The Federal Reserve will release “stress tests” results for the nation’s biggest banks on Thursday, according to a government official.
Deliberations between banks and regulators about the tests’ results pushed back the release date, which initially was expected to be earlier in the week.
In addition to an overall snapshot of the health of the 19 large banks being assessed, the Fed will provide detail about individual banks, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.