RealNews

Stocks Rise, US Cuts Terror Threat Level

Stocks rose on Thursday as the United States lowered the level of the terror threat facing the nation, prompting investors to pick up bargains in a market hit by worries that Washington will go to war with Baghdad. “The terror alert being lowered is a reason to rally if you believe that we should be trading around geopolitical developments,” said Brian Pears, head of trading at Victory Capital Management, adding that many investors are still wary. The reduction in the threat level added support after a surprisingly strong economic report showed January orders for durable goods — items such as cars, washing machines and refrigerators — scored their biggest monthly jump since July. “Two issues are impacting the market: What kind of recovery we are going to have in the United States? The capital goods numbers were encouraging,” said Subodh Kumar, chief strategist at CIBC World Markets. “And (then) there’s Iraq.” In Kumar’s opinion, “a day like today shows a confrontation is baked into the market for now.” Nevertheless, for most investors, the threat of war with Iraq hangs over the Street like a cloud that just won’t go away. Oil futures prices soared close to $40 a barrel, near highs hit in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. In the latest showdown, Iraq has said it will respond to a United Nations. order to destroy its al-Samoud missiles within two days. But President Bush told reporters that any Iraqi plan to destroy missiles is part of a “campaign of deception.” He called for Baghdad to disarm completely. Full Story

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