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US STOCKS-Market edges up on hope of credit thaw

Published on Reuters

Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:55am EST

By Jennifer Coogan

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose slightly on Tuesday on optimism that actions by global central banks are beginning to thaw a credit freeze that threatens to hinder financial markets.

Positive earnings news helped sentiment. Shares of Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 4 percent to $42.54 on the Nasdaq after the design software maker reported a rise in fourth-quarter profit late on Monday. For details, see [ID:nN17432632].

Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported earnings that topped forecasts. But the investment bank’s shares, after rising initially, fell after an executive said Goldman was cautious about the near-term outlook, saying the subprime market hasn’t yet reached bottom. [ID:nWEN3042].

Investors are awaiting results from the Federal Reserve’s first auction of short-term loans on Monday that was part of a joint effort with other central banks to ease tightness in the money market.

Euro-denominated interest rates eased sharply after the European Central Bank lent European banks $500 billion in two-week funds to ease year-end financing worries.

“It’s good those measures have been taken. It provides a resolution to our problems, but it’s a staged process,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc., an investment advisory firm in Toledo, Ohio.

The Dow Jones industrial average. DJI was up 19.67 points, or 0.15 percent, at 13,186.87. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 2.74 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,448.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 6.00 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,580.46.

Shares of Goldman fell 1.3 percent to $205.55. Shares of rival Lehman Brothers (LEH.N: Quote, Profile, Research) were down 1.3 percent.

In other earnings news, Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shares fell 1.5 percent to $50.40 after the No. 1 home electronics retailer reported a higher- than-expected 52 percent jump in quarterly profit and lifted its full-year profit outlook. [ID:nN18469015]. (Editing by Kenneth Barry)