A complex series of events early today has resulted in investor optimism (especially in trust management) and a stronger U.S. dollar.
The most telling statistic came from the U.S. Labor Dept. as new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week. The encouraging news surpassed analyst forecasts. That triggered a rise of U.S. stocks sending the Standard and Poor's 500 Index higher for the fourth time in five days.
"It suggests that we are coming out of the soft patch and not spiraling into a double-dip recession," said Philip Orlando, the New York-based chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors, which oversees about $350 billion.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar strengthened overseas as the euro struggled to hold above $1.37. Analysts said
investors continue to worry about Greece's ability to save off default. The German parliament voted today to beef up the euro zone's bailout fund.