Jitters in Japan help US bonds

 

Blue-chip stocks rose yesterday as the sharp setback in Japan spurred another exodus into the US bond market, where interest rates fell to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73.92 points to 7,724.74, its best finish since just before it tumbled 554 points on October 27th, a session that began at 7,715.41.

Broad-market indicators were mixed, but none was pummelled by the latest outbreak of turmoil on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where the main index plunged 5.3 per cent after the Japanese prime minister said no tax money would be used to support the country's troubled banking system.

US stocks drew some strength from the bond market, where long-term interest rates continued to flirt with the first move below 6% since January 1996.

As bond prices rose, the yield on the 30-year Treasury - a key influence on borrowing costs - fell as low as 6.02 per cent before settling near 6.03 per cent.