Cisco's faster router fires up stocks on Wall Street

Stocks on Wall Street finished higher as the telecommunications sector continued to steam ahead after Cisco Systems announced a new high-speed internet router.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11.86 points, or 0.1%, at 10,564.38 after a volatile day's trading in which swung between gains and losses late in the session.Its telecommunications components built on earlier gains after Cisco unveiled the new router, which the company says is 12 times faster than its rivals and will help alleviate congestion in mobile data networks.

Stocks on Wall Street finished higher as the telecommunications sector continued to steam ahead after Cisco Systems announced a new high-speed internet router.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11.86 points, or 0.1%, at 10,564.38 after a volatile day's trading in which swung between gains and losses late in the session.

Its telecommunications components built on earlier gains after Cisco unveiled the new router, which the company says is 12 times faster than its rivals and will help alleviate congestion in mobile data networks.

AT&T and Verizon Communications also advanced. Verizon gained 1%, while AT&T climbed 1.5% after saying it had completed a trial of faster downloads using Cisco's new router.

Boeing climbed 0.9% after Northrop Grumman said it would drop out of a protracted quest to win a $US40 billion contract to build the US Air Force's next generation of aerial-refuelling planes, leaving Boeing as the only competitor left standing.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the stock market's rebound from its 12-year lows last year. The Dow is up more than 60% from a year ago.

The Nasdaq Composite was the strongest of the main indexes, closing 0.4% higher at 2340.68. The S&P 500 index finished 0.2% up at 1140.45, led by A 1.2% rise in its telecommunications sector. Materials and utilities lagged as commodities prices slid.

Other markets

European stocks were dragged lower by losses in the basic resources and banking sectors as concerns about sovereign debt persisted.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.8% at 254.84. London's FTSE 100 was down 0.7% at 5564.84, Frankfurt's DAX was 0.6% lower at 5839.35 and Paris's CAC-40 was down 0.7% at 3876.44.

Most Asian markets rose marginally in lacklustre trading. Japanese stocks slipped as steelmakers and exporters succumbed to profit-taking. Fujitsu was hammered for a second day on concerns over its former president's resignation.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 compaies fell or 0.2%, to 10,567.65 after rising 4.3% over the previous two sessions.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.1% to 21,207.55 and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% 3069.14.

Commodities: Oil, gold down

Crude-oil futures pared losses to remain above $US81 a barrel as energy traders anticipated data showing higher US inventories last week and played off the latest moves in the dollar.

Crude for April delivery settled 38USc, or 0.5%, down at $US81.49 a barrel in New York. Earlier, the contract hit a low of $US80.16.

Brent oil futures settled 56USc, or 0.7%, lower

Gold futures fell as the dollar strengthened on renewed European debt worries and after a Chinese official hinted that future gold purchases by the country could be limited.

Lightly traded but nearby March gold was down $US1.60, or 0.1%, to $US1122 an ounce in New York. Gold for April delivery dropped $US1.70, or 0.2%, to $US1123.20.

Currencies: Euro, pound down

The UK pound and the euro weakened sharply as warnings by credit raters about deteriorating credit quality in Europe prompted investors to seek refuge in the dollar and the yen.

Sterling was the worst performer among major currencies for a second straight day, touching a one-week low against the dollar.

The euro sank as much as 1.2% against the yen and more than 0.5% against the dollar.

In New York trading, the pound has slumped to $US1.4983 from $US1.5063 late on Monday. The euro moved to $US1.3576 from $US1.3631.

The dollar weakened to ¥89.81 from ¥90.30. The euro weakened to ¥121.94 from ¥123.09 yen.

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