World stock Market News 03-07-2014 …

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U.S. stocks open slightly higher, with the Dow Industrials nearing a new intraday record of 17,000, after a better-than-expected reading on the U.S. jobs market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 22 points, or 0.1%, to 16978. The S&P 500 inched up two points, or 0.1%, to 1975 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose six points, or 0.1%, to 4775. On Tuesday, the Dow minted its 12th closing record for the year, and the S&P 500 notched its 23rd.

Stocks were helped by a strong reading on private-sector job growth. Automatic Data Processing and Moody’s Analytics reported that 281,000 private-sector jobs were created in June, compared with expectations for an increase of 210,000. Factory orders for May are expected to post a decline.

Stocks have been rising in the past several weeks as economic data in the U.S. and some other parts of the world showed signs of steady, albeit slow, improvement. This week markets got a boost from China, where readings on the manufacturing sector indicated expansion. Worries about China and the U.S., which suffered a harsh winter, prompted a sharp selloff early in the year.

The records in U.S. stocks lifted European shares, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.39%. European gains came despite a set of euro-zone manufacturing indicators that showed a modest slowdown in June.

With economic data in Europe still pointing to a fragile and uneven recovery, European shares have lagged behind their U.S. counterparts since the European Central Bank last month introduced a package of easing measures including interest-rate cuts and cheap loans to banks.

Shares of a number of French telecom firms came under pressure after Orange SA said it has dropped plans for a potential merger or acquisition in France. The firm has been at the heart of intense merger speculation, notably tying it to smaller rival Bouygues Telecom, a unit of Bouygues.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down 0.01 percentage point to 2.551%.

In commodities markets, Brent crude oil was down 0.4% at $104.90 a barrel, while gold inched up 0.1% to $1,327.80 an ounce.

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