NEW YORK - Stocks jumped Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones industrials past 13,200 for the first time after a strong reading on U.S. factory orders stoked investor optimism about the economy. The Dow gained more than 75 points and secured its second straight record close. The Commerce Department said orders to U.S. factories rose 3.1 percent in March - the largest increase in a year - amid strong demand for commercial aircraft and a sharp rise in an indicator of how much companies are investing in their business. The increase easily outpaced the 2 percent rise analysts had been expecting. As investors begin to look toward Friday's Labor Department reports on March job creation and unemployment, they are also keeping watch over corporate profits as they try to determine how quickly the economy might be slowing and whether the stronger-than-expected earnings might continue to give stocks a lift. Time Warner Inc. and Yum Brands Inc., parent of fast-food chains KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, each reported robust quarterly results. "The stronger-than-anticipated earnings releases have definitely been the catalysts for pries to move higher and the merger deals continue to reduce shares in the market and put fresh cash back in investors' hands," said Tim Hartzell, chief investment officer at Kanaly Trust Co. The Dow rose 75.74, or 0.58 percent, to 13,211.88. The blue chip index hit a fresh trading high of 13,256.33 after reaching 13,184.14 Tuesday. Broader stock indicators also rose Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 9.62, or 0.65 percent, to 1,495.92. Wall Street has been eyeing the index, waiting for it to move back above 1,500; the S&P 500 hasn't closed above that level since September 2000. The Nasdaq composite index rose 26.31, or 1.04 percent, to 2,557.84. Bonds fell following release of the factory order data. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.65 from 4.64 percent late Tuesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell. Light, sweet crude fell 77 cents to $63.66 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after weekly government figures showed larger-than-expected domestic supplies. In what some investors perhaps regarded as an early read on Friday's jobs numbers, an employment indicator published by ADP and Macroeconomic Advisers reported an increase of 64,000 in private jobs in April. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 3.14 billion shares, down from 3.29 billion shares on Tuesday. The Russell 2000 index rose 12.21, or 1.50 percent, to 828.46.
Eastman completes sale of plant in Spain
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KINGSPORT - Eastman Chemical Co. announced Wednesday it has completed the sale of its PET polymers manufacturing assets in Spain and the related polyester resin business. Eastman Chemical Iberia in San Roque, Spain, was sold to La Seda de Barcelona. Terms of the sale, agreed to in February, have not been released. Kingsport-based Eastman is a global maker of chemicals, plastics and fibers. La Seda produces and distributes synthetic and artificial fabrics and yarns such as polyester, polythene and viscose. "This transaction is a major step forward as we implement our strategy to improve the overall financial performance of our PET polymers business," Gregory O. Nelson, Eastman's executive vice president and polymers business group head, said in a statement.
Edward Jones hosting free broadcast
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KINGSPORT - Edward Jones financial advisers in Kingsport are hosting a free broadcast presentation titled "Take Charge of Your Financial Security" at 11:30 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. May 8. Only 25 percent of women are responsible for their investments, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Yet experts predict that 80 percent to 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for all financial decisions at some point in their lives. During the Edward Jones broadcast, nationally syndicated personal financial columnist Terry Savage will discuss practical strategies that may help participants move forward in securing their financial future. This interactive event is presented at select Edward Jones branch offices nationwide via the firm's private video network. To reserve a seat or for more information call G. Leslie Wright, Stu Fisher or Brian Murray at 378-5678. Additional viewing opportunities are available for those unable to attend the May 8 broadcasts.
Writing course offered at Northeast State
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BLOUNTVILLE - A course titled "Maximize Your Writing" will be held from 8 a.m. to noon May 18 at Northeast State Technical Community College. This e-mail and letter writing class teaches participants how to maximize writing, increase productivity, and make idea organization more visible so an e-mail or letter is easier to read. At the close of the program, participants will be able to use the subject line creatively to get the reader to open an e-mail; select simple words and short sentences to lessen mistakes in grammar; construct short paragraphs for easy reading; write in a conversational tone that encourages cooperation; and get readers to take action much more quickly. Registration deadline is May 7. The course fee is $125. To register contact Cindy Tauscher at 354-2570 or by e-mail at email@example.com.