Friday, 19 August 2011

Wall Street edges up, helped by commodities

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK | Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:57am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged higher in early trading on Friday, with miners rising on higher commodity prices and the S&P 500 index finding technical support.

Major indices opened lower but quickly turned higher, reflecting the volatility that has rocked market action in the past weeks.

"Commodities are trading well with the weakness in the dollar," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

A rally by the euro to the high of the day brought in buyers seeking bargains from Thursday's selloff, Boockvar said.

There was also an upward boost on technical trading, analysts said. The S&P 500 bounced off a session low of 1,130, a key resistance level during last summer that is becoming strong support.

"Technical levels are what market participants are focused on now," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Commodity prices rose as the U.S. dollar weakened, with U.S. crude prices sharply recovering from a 3 percent decline earlier to gain 1 percent.

The materials sector of the S&P 500 gained 1.6 percent while energy stocks added 1.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 28.19 points, or 0.26 percent, at 11,018.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 6.84 points, or 0.60 percent, at 1,147.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 22.40 points, or 0.94 percent, at 2,402.83.

Hewlett-Packard Co slid 22.3 percent to $22.91 and was the largest decliner on the Dow industrials a day after it said it may spin off its PC business, the biggest in the world, and cut its outlook.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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