* Economic data bolsters stocks, weighs on safe-haven U.S.
* U.S. jobless claims drop, China, Europe PMIs positive for
* Apple selloff weighs, but U.S. stocks eke out 7th day of
* Dollar soars 2 pct against yen after remarks by Japanese
By Ellen Freilich and Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Jan 24 World equity and commodity
markets rose on Thursday on encouraging economic data, with U.S.
stocks briefly topping a key psychological milestone despite a
selloff in Apple shares that wiped out about $60 billion of its
In currency markets the dollar soared 2 percent against the
yen, on track for its biggest one-day gain in nearly 15 months,
after a Japanese official said the government had no problem
with the dollar strengthening to 100 yen.
Apple Inc fell 12.4 percent to $450.50 after the
iPhone maker gave a revenue forecast late on Wednesday that
missed Wall Street's estimate for a third straight quarter.
The strong downdraft from Apple was offset by surprisingly
strong economic signals. U.S. factory activity grew the most in
nearly two years in January and the number of new claims for
jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low last week.
In a third report the Conference Board's Leading Economic
Index rose last month, pointing to improved U.S. growth ahead.
"You have Apple and technology on the one side and the rest
of the market on the other side," said Hugh Johnson, chief
investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New
Early U.S. stock gains pushed the S&P 500 above 1,500 for
the first time since Dec. 12, 2007, but the benchmark index
closed below the symbolic mark.
The index eked out a gain by the tiniest of margins - a
hundredth of 1 point - allowing the S&P 500 to advance for a
seventh straight session in the longest winning streak since
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 46.00
points, or 0.33 percent, at 13,825.33. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index rose 0.01 point to 1,494.82. The Nasdaq Composite
Index fell 23.29 points, or 0.74 percent, at 3,130.38,
pulled lower by Apple.
Todd Colvin, senior vice president of global institutional
sales with R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago, said
risk-takers are being rewarded so far in 2013.
"It's a reach for return in the equities market," Colvin
MSCI's world equity index rose 0.14 percent
to 353.18, lifted by business surveys showing growth in Chinese
manufacturing accelerated to a two-year high in January.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares
closed up 0.29 percent at 1,171.06 on signs of growth in
Germany, which bolstered expectations that the region's
sovereign debt crisis may be easing.
"The Chinese data bodes well for demand which translates
into top line revenue growth. If global demand goes up, it's
good for U.S. equities," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist
at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey, with more than $1
trillion in assets under management.
U.S. Treasury debt prices slipped after the weekly jobless
data fell to a five-year low, raising hopes of an improving U.S.
labor market and paring safe-haven bets on government debt.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 8/32 in
price to yield 1.8542 percent, as investors moved funds into
The growing confidence in the pace of China's economic
recovery helped keep Brent crude oil above $113 a
barrel. Brent settled 48 cents higher at $113.28.
U.S. crude futures rose 72 cents to settle $95.95 a
U.S. COMEX gold futures for February delivery settled
down $16.80 at $1,669.90 an ounce.
The yen tumbled against the dollar, snapping a three-day
advance, after the Japanese official's comments.
The yen has lost more than 10 percent of its value since
November -- weakening to about 90 per dollar from 80 -- on
expectations Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will force the central
bank to ease monetary policy to combat deflation.
The dollar was up 2.02 percent at 90.38 against the
yen, while the euro rose 0.47 percent at $1.3378.