NEW YORK - Wall Street rose moderately yesterday, carving out its fourth straight weekly gain amid a fresh round of corporate takeover news and employment figures that largely met expectations.
Reports that Microsoft Corp. renewed talks to acquire or invest in Yahoo Inc. helped buoy investor sentiment, as did word that Reuters Group P.L.C. received a preliminary takeover offer. There is speculation that Thomson Corp., the financial-data provider, is the likely suitor for the British news and information company.
Beyond the buyout news, which has figured prominently in shaping Wall Street's largely upbeat mood in recent months, economic figures offered some nuggets for both bullish and bearish investors. The Labor Department said the nation's jobless rate rose to 4.5 percent in April as expected; in the prior month, the rate stood at a five-year low of 4.4 percent.
"The economic data suggest that the economy is not tanking and inflation is not accelerating, and that the Fed is not going to upset the apple cart," said Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price, referring to the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.24, or 0.18 percent, to 13,264.62, its fourth straight record close. The Dow also reached a new trading high of 13,284.53.
The blue-chip index has had 19 record closes since the start of the year and 41 since the beginning of October.
Broader stock indicators also moved higher yesterday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 3.23, or 0.21 percent, to 1,505.62. On Thursday, the S&P 500 moved above the 1,500 mark for the first time in nearly seven years, and it rose as high as 1,510.34 yesterday. The return to 1,500 puts the closing high of 1,527.46 - reached March 24, 2000 - within investors' sights.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 6.69, or 0.26 percent, to 2,572.15; while the Nasdaq has risen alongside the Dow and the S&P in recent sessions, it remains about halfway toward its March 2000 high.
Yesterday's advance marked another week of prodigious gains. The Dow is up 1.1 percent for the week after crossing 13,200 for the first time Wednesday. It gained 7.7 percent in the previous 25 sessions. The S&P 500 is up 0.77 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq rose 0.58 percent.
Among information that drove bond investors was government data showing that employers added the fewest new jobs in more than two years. While Wall Street doesn't want consumers to feel less secure in their jobs and perhaps curb their spending, a spike in wages amid a tight labor market could stir concerns about inflation - and that could force the Federal Reserve to be more aggressive about interest rates.
Light, sweet crude fell $1.26 to $61.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.