Finance Finance News US markets rise on massive takeover bid

US markets rise on massive takeover bid

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Wall Street gained ground overnight as investors focused on corporate news and shrugged off weak economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.4 per cent higher at 16,027 and the broader S&P 500 ended 0.6 per cent higher at 1,829.

Official Commerce Department figures revealed a rise in the number of people filing for jobless benefits last week.

Official retail sales dropped a worse than expected 0.4 per cent in January, as the extreme cold snap that has gripped the US kept shoppers at home, and there was a downward revision to the December retail figures as well.

That has caused economists to lower their outlook for annualised growth in the fourth quarter from around 3 per cent closer to 2 per cent.

However, a $US45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable by Comcast distracted the market.

The deal creates a company that could control three-quarters of the US cable industry, and so is likely to face close scrutiny from US antitrust regulators.

So, after rising in early trade, both stocks ended the day down, Time Warner losing 0.9 per cent and Comcast losing 4.1 per cent.

Market heavyweight Goodyear, the major tyre company, posted a rise in profits lifting its stocks over 10 per cent.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s hearing before the US Senate Banking Committee was postponed because of a snowstorm.

Across the Atlantic the FTSE 100 ended its six straight days of gains as investors took profits, ending down 0.2 per cent at at 6,659.

Markets on the continent all rose, the DAX  was the strongest seeing a 0.6 per cent rise to 9,597.

The Australian was set for a good start to trade at 8:10am (AEDT) the ASX SPI 200 was 0.6 per cent higher at 5,296.

The Australian dollar had regained some of the 1 per cent it lost on the back of the worse than expected employment figures yesterday.

It was buying 89.89 US cents.

The spot gold price continued the weeks rally overnight and was worth $US1,301 an ounce.

The first time its been above $US1,300 since early November.

West Texas crude was at $US100.25 a barrel, Tapis was worth $US114.35.