Stocks Shake Off Stagflation Fears

Stocks managed to post modest gains Thursday despite the latest data showing rising inflation and a slowing economy.

Wholesale prices rose much faster than expected last month, the government reported, while New York manufacturing was weaker than expected. The unsettling inflation data made traders uneasy ahead of Friday’s consumer inflation report, but stocks still managed to post modest gains on the day, boosted by merger news.

WebEx rocketed higher on a buyout offer from Cisco , while MapInfo jumped on a takeover deal with Pitney Bowes .

51Job , Peerless and Global Crossing surged on their earnings news, while Chipmos and Wave Systems fell on their results.

BigBand Networks jumped 30% in its first day of trading.

The Nasdaq rose 7 to 2378, the S&P 500 gained 5 to 1392, and the Dow rose 26 to 12,159. Volume declined to 2.82 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.81 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 23-9 margin on the NYSE, and 18-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 72% on the NYSE, and 56% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 84-26 on the NYSE, and 70-62 on the Nasdaq.

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