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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Strong Economic Data Drives Stocks

Stocks ended higher on Friday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closing at a four-year high for the second straight session, as investors were encouraged by positive economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.94, or 0.1 percent, to 10,640.83, its best close since March 16. The S & P; 500 Index rose 1.42, or 0.1 percent, to 1,227.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 3.96, or 0.2 percent, to 2,156.78, beating the previous session’s 2005 high.

Government reports bolstered Wall Street’s confidence in the economy. The Labor Department’s Producer Price Index was flat in June, while “core” PPI with volatile food and fuel costs removed fell 0.1 percent. And the Federal Reserve reported that industrial output increased 0.9 percent in June, three times faster than the 0.3 percent rise in May.

Also, U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in a year in early July, the University of Michigan said.

Among local companies, shares of Rotonics Manufacturing Inc. rose 3.9 percent to $3.17 after the Gardena-based plastic products manufacturer said fourth-quarter net income rose to $1.7 million (15 cents a share) from $1.3 million (11 cents) in the year-ago period, thanks to new product offerings.

And with inflation data benign, shares of local homebuilders KB Home and Ryland Group, Inc. rose. Ryland finished the day up 2.5 percent to $80.27, while KB Home settled up 3.8 percent to $82.47.

On the down side, Univision Communications Inc. dipped 0.7 percent to $27.09 after a legal dispute between Televisa and its U.S. partner, L.A.-based Univision, escalated, with the Mexican broadcaster filing two more claims in a fight over royalties. Televisa amended an existing suit against Univision to include new claims that the U.S. company aired sports programs from Televisa outside an existing programming deal and has refused to air Televisa advertising.

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