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Global Market Wrap-Up - February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Mark Hanna
U.S. stocks recovered from early morning losses to finish near highs of the session; the S&P 500 gained 0.4% and NASDAQ 0.8%. The euro jumped to a two-month high against the dollar, $1.337, up almost a penny from Wednesday.
  • Applications for jobless benefits were unchanged in the week ended Feb. 18 at 351,000, the fewest since March 2008.
  • A report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed that a gauge of home prices jumped 0.7 percent in December, beating estimates.
The price of oil jumped to $107.83, a nine-month high and up $1.55 for the day.  Benchmark crude has increased 9 percent so far in 2012, and gas pump prices are up about 5 percent.  Gold added $15.00 to finish at $1786.30 while silver gained $1.30, closing at $35.56.

Britain's FTSE 100 ended up 0.4%, while France's CAC 40 was flat and the DAX in Germany lost 0.5%.
  • The Greek Parliament approved a plan to wipe out €107 billion of debt that it owes to investors who hold its government bonds. Greece is expected to make a formal offer to bondholders Friday.
  • The European Commission said Thursday that it expects the eurozone will likely face a mild recession in 2012, thanks to negative growth in Greece, Portugal, Spain and four other countries.
China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.3% and Japan's Nikkei added 0.4%.