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US stocks end week lower
NEW YORK—Stocks ended a rough week with slight gains yesterday after Libyan government forces declared a cease-fire and a group of the world’s seven largest countries announced a plan to bring the yen down from historic highs. Financial stocks rose after JPMorgan and other large banks increased their dividends. JP Morgan said it was increasing its dividend to US25 cents a share from five cents. Japan’s currency has soared since an earthquake struck the country a week ago and caused devastating tsunami waves and damage to several nuclear plants. A stronger yen makes it more difficult for Japan’s export-driven economy to recover by making Japanese goods more expensive overseas.
News early yesterday that Libya’s foreign minister had declared a cease-fire helped push stocks higher, but opposition forces said shelling was still occurring after the announcement and they accused the Libyan government of lying. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 83.93 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 11,858.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.49, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,279.21. The Nasdaq composite index gained 7.62, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,643.67. (AP)
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