Last updated: April 4, 2013 9:21 pm

Wall Street stocks shrug off jobs data

Shares in Best Buy soared after the electronics retailer announced that it has joined up with Samsung to create kiosks at its stores to showcase products such as smartphones and tablets.

Its shares jumped 16.1 per cent to $25.13 and more than doubled in value since the start of the year.

Sentiment on the company has begun to turn as a new management team installed last year has won the confidence of more investors.

Overall, US equity markets recaptured gains after a volatile session as investors weighed disappointing weekly jobless data that showed first-time unemployment claims rose unexpectedly last week.

The rise was more than economists predicted and indicates a loss in momentum in the labour market.

However, weekly claims are volatile and prone to seasonal changes with investors keenly awaiting the main monthly employment figures due on Friday.

The benchmark S&P 500 index recorded gains after dipping into negative territory and finished 0.4 per cent higher at 1,559.98.

Eight out of 10 main sectors were trading in positive territory with gains led by defensive sectors such as telecommunications and utilities while energy and technology stocks were shunned by investors.

“The recent impressive rally has been driven by defensive sectors and healthcare and consumer staples have been the best performers so far this year, primarily because retail investors who coming into the market are being cautious and conservative and seeking yield,” said Scott Wren, senior equities strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.

“However, we are still optimistic about markets in 2013 and any pullbacks, which a lot of people seem to be expecting, are going to be shallow,” he added.

Banking stocks, which suffered some heavy losses on Wednesday, attracted buyers with the S&P 500 financial sector rising 1 per cent.

Bank of America rose 1.1 per cent to $11.94, Wells Fargo added 2 per cent to $37.42 and JPMorgan shares rose 1.4 per cent to $47.49.

Shares in Macy’s, the department store chain, rose 2.8 per cent to $43.56 after the proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday revealed that its chief executive’s compensation for fiscal 2012 was down 22 per cent.

Ratings upgrades and downgrades also moved some stocks. CenturyLink shares rose 2.7 per cent to $36.02 after it was upgraded to “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan.

Teradata was the worst hit stock on the S&P 500 index after Morgan Stanley analysts removed it from their “best ideas” list and lowered 2013 estimates. Shares in the data storage company tumbled 7.4 per cent to $51.89.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which tracks 30 blue-chip stocks and is a price-weighted index, rose 0.4 per cent to 14,606.11.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged behind other benchmarks and closed 0.2 per cent higher at 3,224.98.

Nasdaq’s biggest component, Apple, lost 1 per cent to $427.72, continuing the downward trend since last September. The company has lost nearly a fifth of its market value since the beginning of the year.

Facebook shares rose as the largest social network partnered with HTC to introduce a mid-range Android phone that will incorporate deep Facebook functionality.

At the event called “New home on Android’, the company unveiled its own mobile software platform – a version of the Android operating system that prioritises the social networking service.

The company has been criticised for being slow to monetise its advertising on mobile devices. Its stock rose 3.1 per cent to $27.06, but is still well below its IPO price of $38.

MetroPCS shares rallied 1.5 per cent to $11.12 after Reuters reported that Deutsche Telekom was still working on a deal to buy the mobile operator.

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