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May 29, 2007 > Wall Street rises amid continued takeover activity

Wall Street rises amid continued takeover activity

By Tim Paradis, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP), May 25 _ Wall Street rose smartly in a quiet session Friday as investors adjusted positions ahead of a long holiday weekend and tried to determine whether a lackluster week presaged a departure from the market's months-long run-up or merely a temporary pause.

Stocks rose Friday coming off a pullback Thursday and as investors drew some optimism from the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.'s deal to acquire Sweden's OMX AB. Investors showed little reaction to the National Association of Realtors' report that sales of existing homes fell 2.6 percent in April to 5.99 million units, the slowest sales rate in almost four years.

The gains followed four mostly negative sessions for Wall Street's major indexes. Given Wall Street's robust performance in recent months, a pullback in which investors consolidate gains wasn't unexpected. However, the week began with a flourish that could have suggested a further climb: The Standard & Poor's 500 index traded above its record close for the first time in more than seven years.

But concerns over the continued strength of the market's run and comments from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan about the possibility of a sharp pullback in Chinese stocks left some investors unnerved.

``It's just a very, very wacky market,'' said Ted Aronson, a partner at Aronson Johnson Ortiz, referring to the overall mood on Wall Street. He contends the implications of a still-settling housing market are difficult to quantify and give him pause though he is still mostly bullish.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 66.15, or 0.49 percent, to 13,507.28. The Dow had fallen in the previous four sessions.

Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 8.22, or 0.55 percent, to 1,515.73, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 19.27, or 0.76 percent, to 2,557.19.

Bonds fell following the housing data and as stocks regained lost ground Friday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.86 percent from 4.84 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Light, sweet crude rose $1.02 to $65.20 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Stocks rose in part Nasdaq announced its $3.67 billion deal. The move gives the stock market entrance to Europe through OMX, which operates exchanges in seven Nordic countries. It will become the world's second trans-Atlantic exchange after the New York Stock Exchange bought Paris-based Euronext earlier this year.

The gains came after Wall Street retreated Thursday following housing data that showed sales of single-family homes surged in April by the largest amount in 14 years but that prices fell sharply as well. While a resilient housing market would likely be good for the economy, it could also reduce the likelihood the Federal Reserve would reduce interest rates.

``I think the housing market has been on the top of everybody's list of concerns and now when you see some positives a lot of investors are taking a step back and saying maybe things aren't as bad. There is uncertainty about interest rates,'' said Steve Schoepke, vice president of research and product development at AIG SunAmerica Asset Management.

In corporate news, Nasdaq's stock fell $1.14, or 3.4 percent, to $32.84 after announcing its OMX bid. The combined operations will form the world's second trans-Atlantic exchange.

Retailer Gap Inc. fell 11 cents to $18.18 after reporting its first-quarter profit fell 26 percent.

Coca-Cola Co., one of the 30 stocks that makes up the Dow industrials, rose 65 cents to $51.89 after the beverage maker said it would acquire Vitaminwater maker glaceau for $4.1 billion in a bid to expand its line of non-carbonated beverages.

SourceForge Inc., formerly VA Software Corp., said its third-quarter profit rose as a result of the sale of its enterprise software business. The stock jumped 59 cents, or 15.8 percent, to $4.32.

Verigy Ltd. jumped $5, or 20.3 percent, to $29.63 after the
Singapore chip-testing equipment maker forecast
stronger-than-expected sales.

RF Micro Devices Inc., which makes radio frequency components used in mobile devices, advanced 34 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $6.50 after an analyst raised his rating on the stock, contending demand for the company's products will improve in the second half of the year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.23 billion shares.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 6.13, or 0.74 percent, to 829.93.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the week down 49.25, or 0.36 percent, at 13,507.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished down 7.02, or 0.46 percent, at 1,515.73. The Nasdaq composite index ended down 1.26, or 0.05 percent, at 2,557.19

The Russell 2000 index finished the week down 6.27, or 0.76 percent, at 829.93.

The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index _ a free-float weighted index that measures 5,000 U.S. based companies _ ended Friday at 15,269.21, down 35.78 points for the week. A year ago, the index was at 12,855.02.

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