10:45 AM New York – The U.S. indexes edged higher after weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders rose, new home sales declined and leading economic index improved. Amgen agreed to acquire Micromet for $1.16 billion.
U.S. indexes gained after some upbeat economic data. Weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders rose more than estimated. However, new home sales fell but leading economic index advanced.
European markets traded higher more than 1.5% after Italy raised the maximum amount it targeted at a bond auction.
The IMF urged Europe for a successful resolution of the sovereign debt crisis. The lender urged for deeper fiscal and financial integration across Europe to underpin the sustainability of the common currency.
The impasse between Greece and its private lenders continues with no solution so far regarding the debt swap ratio. Talks resume today to resolve the deadlock.
Finance ministers in the euro zone agreed to set up a permanent rescue fund as early June after a 2-day meeting this week but remain far apart with the size of the fund. The leaders hope to set up a fund with as much as €700 billion to €1 trillion but Germany resisted the calls to increase the size above €500 billion.
The Italian Treasury sold €4.5 billion worth of 2-year bonds at the high end of its target.
Asian markets edged higher.
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased in the week ended January 21st, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor Department today. The claims had declined to nearly a four-year low in the previous week.
The report said jobless claims rose to 377,000 from the previous week''s revised figure of 356,000, representing the lowest level of jobless claims since April of 2008 and remaining below the key 400,000 level.
U.S. Durable Goods Orders Climb
New orders for U.S. durable goods increased by more than anticipated in the month of December, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today.
The report showed that durable goods orders increased 3% to $214.5 billion in December compared to a revised 4.3% increase in November. The core orders that include machinery and other durable goods but excludes volatile transportation and defense orders increased 2.9%.
The increase in new orders was driven in part by a 5.5% increase in orders for transportation equipment, which largely reflected an 18.9% increase in orders for civilian aircraft.
Excluding an increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose 2.1% in December.
U.S. New Home Sales Fall
New home sales in the U.S. declined more than anticipated in December. Sales of new single-family homes came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 for December, a 2.2% drop from the revised November rate of 314,000.
U.S. Leading Economic Index Improves
The Conference Board said its leading economic index for the U.S. increased 0.4% in December following a revised 0.2% rise in November.