Wall Street advances moderately

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NEW YORK -- Stocks managed a moderately advance Thursday, staying afloat as signs of strength in corporate takeover activity, jobs and overseas markets allowed investors to stomach a sharp rise in wholesale inflation.

Wall Street still displayed nervousness, however, selling off briefly after former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan rekindled investors' woes about subprime mortgages. The knee-jerk dip was illustrative of how jittery the markets are now, recoiling when reminded that no one yet knows the extent to which weak areas of economy, notably the struggling housing market and hemorrhaging subprime lenders, will hurt overall growth in the months ahead.

Trading was erratic at other points in the session, but most investors on Thursday chose to buy up bargains following a 242-point drop in the Dow Jones industrials on Tuesday and a 57-point recovery on Wednesday that suggested the market is holding above the index's 12,000 mark -- at least for now.

A bidding battle for commodities exchange CBOT Holdings Inc. also gave stocks a lift. Despite the cooling economy, merger and acquisition activity has been surging, leading some investors to believe that problems in some sectors haven't seeped into the stronger areas of the economy.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 26.28, or 0.22%, to 12,159.68. The Dow is 627 points below its closing high of 12,786.64, reached Feb. 20.

Broader stock indicators were also higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 5.10, or 0.37%, to 1,392.28, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 6.96, or 0.29%, to 2,378.70.

Bonds fell slightly as stocks rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was at 4.53%, lower than 4.54% late Wednesday.
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