* ECB cuts rates below zero to spur bank lending
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct (Updates prices, adds Whole Foods)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , June 5 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 rose to hit anintraday record high for the seventh time in eight sessions onThursday after the European Central Bank cut rates to recordlows and outlined further accommodative monetary policy actions.
Also helping stocks: hedge fund manager David Tepper wasreported by CNBC as saying the ECB move partly "alleviated" hisconcerns about the market, after having said last month he wasworried stock prices were stretched.
The ECB cut the deposit rate to -0.10 percent and will movefurther to persuade banks to lend. ECB head Mario Draghi saidthe bank's governing council will intensify preparations relatedto outright purchases of asset-backed securities.
"A lot of people were short, expecting a pullback cominginto the ECB decision," said Michael James, managing director ofequity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. "I thinkpeople were positioned for things to be underwhelming."
"Things will remain volatile between now and the end of theday ahead of the jobs report tomorrow," he said, adding thatTepper's comments were moving the market in the short term.
Investors are next seen focusing on Friday's U.S. payrollsreport for May. It is expected to show job growth likely slowedlast month and the unemployment rate probably ticked up, but notby enough to upset the view that the economy is bouncing back.
Supporting the market, the number of Americans filing newclaims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but theunderlying trend continued to point to a firming labor market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.4 points or0.58 percent, to 16,833.93, the S&P 500 gained 12.43points or 0.64 percent, to 1,940.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.49 points or 1.02 percent, to 4,295.13.
Sprint has agreed to pay about $40 per share to buyT-Mobile US, a person familiar with the matter toldReuters on Wednesday, marking further progress in the attempt tomerge the third and fourth-biggest U.S. mobile networkoperators. Sprint shares fell 3.7 percent to $9.05 whileT-Mobile US dropped 2.5 percent to $33.14.
Rite Aid shares slid 8.7 percent to $7.76 after itestimated first-quarter profit much below expectations.
Ciena Corp shares jumped 19.3 percent to $22.65after the company posted earnings that beat expectations andgave a revenue outlook above forecasts.
Whole Foods Market (NasdaqGS: WFM - news) rose 4.7 percent to $40.19 inheavy volume, with options volume also surging on unconfirmedchatter that privately held Publix is eyeing the grocery chain,according to a options analytics firm Trade Alert. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, NickZieminski and Chris Reese)
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