Barefoot Investor: US stocks climb on upbeat data, Fed hopes

NEW YORK: US stocks rose on Wednesday following an upbeat report on durable goods orders and amid hopes that the US central bank chief might endorse new stimulus measures later this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 143.95 points (1.29 percent) to close at 11,320.71.

The broader S&P 500 rose 15.25 points (1.31 percent) to 1,177.60, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 21.63 points (0.88 percent) to close at 2,467.69.

US stocks have risen for the past three days, regaining some of the ground they lost during a long slide in which the Dow slumped for four weeks amid fears of a slowing US economy and Europe's debt crisis.

Early on Wednesday, the US Commerce Department gave the market a boost when it said new orders for durable goods rebounded 4.0 percent in July from June, lifted by a surge in aircraft orders.

Separately, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is set to give a speech on Friday which will be closely watched for signs of whether he endorses a further loosening of monetary policy to boost the sluggish US economy.

Last year, during a speech at the same annual central bankers' conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bernanke hinted that the Fed might launch a second round of quantitative easing - essentially, injecting fresh money into the economy in a bid to pump up growth. The Fed later carried through on the policy, fuelling a months-long stock market rally.

"Some of the optimism may be coming (out) of what may come out of Jackson Hole at the end of this week," said Lindsey Piegza, an economist with FTN Financial.

Banking stocks performed strongly on Wednesday, led by Bank of America, which surged 11.0 percent.

Its stock fell sharply earlier this week amid doubts about the strength of its capital base, leading some analysts to declare it undervalued.

JPMorgan Chase gained 3.0 percent for the day, while Goldman Sachs was up 3.2 percent and Citigroup was up 4.1 percent. (AFP)


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