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US: Nasdaq nears 5,000 as oil weakness weighs on S&P 500


[NEW YORK] The Nasdaq on Thursday powered closer to 5,000 points while weakness in oil-linked equities kept the Dow and S&P 500 in the red.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 20.75 points (0.42 per cent) 4,987.89.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10.15 (0.06 per cent) to 18,124.42, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 3.12 (0.15 per cent) at 2,110.74.

Tech giant Apple gained 1.3 percent after it sent invitations for a March 9 event in San Francisco expected to launch the Apple Watch.

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Other outperformers that helped lift Nasdaq near 5,000, a level not breached since the year 2000, included Google (+2.1 per cent) and Tesla Motors (+1.7 per cent).

Oil giant Chevron fell 1.4 per cent and oil-services company Schlumberger lost 1.6 per cent as crude prices fell sharply on worries about excess supplies.

Morgan Stanley fell 1.5 per cent after announcing a settlement with the Justice Department to pay US$2.6 billion to settle a probe into its marketing of mortgage-backed securities.

The investment bank trimmed its 2014 core earnings by US$1.35 per share from the US$2.96 per share previously reported in light of the settlement.

Avago Technologies, which makes semiconductors used in smartphones and other devices, jumped 14.7 per cent on news that its first-quarter net income more than doubled to US$351 million compared with the year-ago period.

L Brands, which owns the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works retail chains, dropped 0.5 per cent after it forecast earnings for the first quarter at 50-55 cents per share, lower than the 62 cents projected by Wall Street analysts., a provider of cloud computing services, leaped 11.7 per cent as fourth-quarter revenue rose 26 percent to US$1.44 billion. The company predicted revenue would rise 21-23 per cent in the first quarter.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.03 per cent from 1.96 per cent, while the 30-year advanced to 2.63 per cent from 2.57 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.