News Column

Stocks Edge Higher, but Investors Remain Wary

October 4, 2013

Ken Sweet, AP Markets Writer


NEW YORK (AP) Stocks were inching higher in early trading on Wall Street Friday but investors remain focused on Washington, where a partial shutdown of the U.S. government has weighed on the market all week.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 34 points, or 0.2 percent, at 15,030 after the first hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up five points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,684 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 17 points, or 0.5 percent, at 3,792.

Despite Friday's modest gains, the trend for the last three weeks in the stock market has been lower. The Dow is down nearly 3 percent since hitting an all-time high on Sept. 18.

Washington appears no closer to resolving the government shutdown or the looming deadline later this month to increase the government's borrowing limit so it can continue to pay its bills.

Under normal circumstances, investors would have the closely watched jobs report to parse through. But the shutdown has forced the Labor Department to postpone the release of September's data for at least the foreseeable future.

Parts of the bond market are starting to show stress as the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline nears. Yields for the one-month T-bill that mature around the time the U.S. government is expected to hit its borrowing limit have risen to their highest level in a year. The yield on one-month T-bill was 0.14 percent, up sharply from 0.01 percent five days ago.

Bond market observers said that fund managers for money market funds, who primarily invest in these types of securities, have been selling short-term Treasuries. Fund managers don't want to be stuck holding U.S. government debt maturing around the time the federal government hits its borrowing limit.

In corporate news, shares of the sandwich chain Potbelly soared on their first day of trading following its $105 million initial public offering. Potbelly, trading under the stock ticker "PBPB," jumped $16.84, or 123 percent, to $31.32.

Railroad company CSX fell 40 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $25.28 after an analyst cut his rating on the stock, uncertainty over demand for coal.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Original headline: Stocks edge higher, but investors remain cautious

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Source: Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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