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US stocks move higher after Merrill asset sale; traders hope for Santa Claus rally

US stocks move higher after Merrill asset sale; traders hope for Santa Claus rally

Wall Street rose moderately in early trading Monday, boosted by news that Merrill Lynch & Co. will receive an investment of up to $6.2 billion (euro4.3 billion) from two investment groups.
Trading volume was light in Monday's abbreviated session _ a pro forma occurrence a day ahead of Christmas when most stock markets around the world are closed. Still, with only five trading days remaining in 2007, investors will perhaps be looking for any opportunity to tidy up their positions after a year that that brought the return of volatility after several years of unusual calm.
Merrill Lynch provided the only significant news of the day. The investment firm said it was receiving a widely expected cash infusino from a Singapore government controlled investment fund, Temasek Holdings, and U.S.-based Davis Selected Advisers. The proceeds were expected to cushion Merrill's mortgage-related writedowns for the fourth quarter.
Merrill also said it would sell most of its commercial finance unit to GE Capital. Terms of the deal weren't made public.
Monday's gains have some investors hoping for a so-called Santa Claus rally _ a year-end surge that often extends into the new year and can burnish portfolios. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 200 points and, along with the other major indexes, posted a gain of more than 1.5 percent for the session.
The Dow rose 60.07, or 0.45 percent, to 13,510.72.
Broader market indexes also advanced. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 4.93, or 0.33 percent, to 1,489.39; and the Nasdaq composite index rose 5.39, or 0.20 percent, to 2,697.38.
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Updated : 2021-01-28 17:21 GMT+08:00