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Friday, 10 February 2012 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: +6.51 Level: 12890.46 NASDAQ PointChange: +11.37 Level: 2927.23 NQ100 PercentChange: +0.7 R2K PercentChange: -0.4 SP400 PercentChange: +0.2 SP500 PointChange: +1.99 Level: 1351.95 NASDAQ-Adv:1134 Dec: 1405 NYSE-Adv:1522 Dec: 1482

[BRIEFING.COM] For the third straight session the stock market rode a modest gain into the close. The moves may not have been exciting to watch, but they've put the broad market on pace for its sixth straight weekly gain and at its best level in seven months.

Trade this week has kept a consistent pattern: stocks run into some morning selling pressure, but gradually work their way higher. In the first session of the week stocks finished flat, but in the past three they have managed modest gains.

In each of the past two sessions tech stocks have provided support. The largest sector by market weight advanced 0.7% yesterday and another 1.0% in the latest round of action. The sector's latest effort was led by the likes of Akamai Tech (AKAM 38.06, +3.62) and Visa (V 112.42, +4.07). Each posted an upside earnings surprise for the latest quarter. Cisco (CSCO 20.00, -0.43) also posted better-than-expected bottom-line results, but the stock still ran into selling pressure.

Shares of Whole Foods (WFMI 82.02, +4.09) won over market participants with its latest quarterly report. The stock helped lead the consumer staples sector to a 0.5% gain. In contrast, PepsiCo (PEP 64.27, -2.47) dropped sharply following its upside earnings surprise.

The positive correlation between stock prices and the euro has lessened in recent days. As such, the major averages moved little in response to the euro's 0.4% climb to a near two-month high of $1.33. However, the euro remains sensitive to headlines regarding a forthcoming austerity plan from Greece's politicians -- to little surprise the story was the topic of rumors again today.

Market participants were also unsurprised by the decision of the European Central Bank to keep its target lending rate at 1.00%, but some were pleased to learn that the ECB expanded collateral guidelines. Meanwhile, the Bank of England kept its target rate at 0.5%, but expanded its lending program by 50 billion to 225 billion pounds.

China attracted some attention for its latest inflationary reading, which showed that consumer prices there experienced a 4.5% increase in January. That proved to be hotter than many had anticipated.

Domestic data featured the latest initial weekly jobless claims tally, which totaled 358,000. Economists polled by had, on average, called for an initial claims count closer to 370,000.

Wholesale inventories showed a 1.0% increase during December, but that number was given very little attention by market participants.

Treasuries attracted buyers after a weak start, which actually sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year Note to a 10-day high. By session's end the Note's yield eased back below 2.05%. In play were results from an auction of 30-year Bonds that featured strong dollar demand of $39.5 billion, a bid-to-cover of 2.47, and an indirect bidder rate of 29.2%. For comparison, an average of the past six auctions results in dollar demand of $36.7 billion, a bid-to-cover of 2.65, and an indirect bidder participation rate of 28.8%.

Advancing Sectors:
Tech +1.0%, Consumer Staples +0.5%, Consumer Discretionary +0.2%, Materials +0.1%, Industrials +0.1%
Declining Sectors: Telecom -0.1%, Energy -0.1%, Utilities -0.2%, Financials -0.4%, Health Care -0.4%

Source: Briefing

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