Apr 14, 2010
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its first triple-digit point gain in three weeks, and the Standard & Poor's 500 broke through a key round-number milestone thanks to the latest round of corporate earnings reports, which offered positive signals about the broader economy.
Traders welcomed J.P. Morgan Chase's report as a sign that the financial system is strong, brisk sales of Intel's chips suggested that businesses are buying equipment again, and CSX's strong results signaled strong demand to move goods to market. Each of those stocks jumped at least 3%, helping to push broader averages higher.
The Dow gained 103.69 points to end at 11123.11, its best point gain since March 5. The average's 0.9% gain for the day was its best performance in percentage terms since March 23, when it posted a 102.94-point gain.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average posted an even stronger gain in percentage terms, up 2.4%.
Nadsaq Composite Index was up 1.6%. The S&P 500 pierced the 1200 milestone for the first time since late September 2008, breaking through after narrow misses in each of the previous two sessions. The broad index ended up 1.1% at 1210.65, led by a 2.6% jump in its financial sector.
Though Alcoa got first-quarter earnings season got off to a lukewarm start on Monday, the last two days' reports have been more favorable, boosting investors' confidence that the U.S. recovery can sustain itself.
"We put so much emphasis on these first few reports every earnings season," said strategist Jim Paulsen, of Wells Capital Management. "I was a little surprised by what we saw from Alcoa, but what we're getting from the other companies now makes more sense based on the other data we've been getting," showing gradual but clear improvement in key economic yardsticks.
That trend continued Wednesday as the Commerce Department said that retail sales rose 1.6% last month, the biggest gain in four months and above the 1.3% increase economists expected. Other economic reports showed a modest climb in consumer prices and an increase in business inventories.
In its beige book of regional economic indicators, the Federal Reserve was upbeat about the consumer spending, which represents more than two-thirds of gross domestic product in the U.S.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee the pace of the recovery this year will depend on if consumers spend and companies invest enough to make up for fading government support. Mr. Bernanke repeated the Fed's pledge to keep interest rates at a record low for an "extended period" to continue aiding the recovery.
The dollar weakened against both the euro and the yen, pushing the U.S. Dollar Index down 0.4%.
Treasury prices were mixed, with the two-year note flat, yielding 1.057%. The 10-year note fell 11/32, lifting its yield to 3.861%.
Crude-oil futures snapped a five-day losing streak, gaining $1.79 to end at $85.84 a barrel as government data revealed an unexpected drop in inventories. Gold futures also rose.
—Donna Kardos Yesalavich and Kristina Peterson contributed to this article. Write to Peter A. McKay at firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal Finance Daily
APRIL 14, 2010
Wednesday's Personal Finance stories
- Find cheap flights as airfares rise
- Senators push for lower tax rates
- Extend, or amend, your tax return
- New law protects breastfeeding moms
- Make money with high-rate accounts
Of course, the Web can help enormously. For instance, your bank accounts. Are you making the most of your savings? It's tough in these low-interest-rate times, but there's wide variation in rates paid if you look around. Read Jennifer Openshaw's column for more on an online tool that helps you find higher rates on checking accounts.
Then there's vacation planning. Much more fun than searching for a checking account, but nonetheless time-consuming, scrolling through innumerable Web sites. Read Jennifer Waters' story about finding cheap flights as airfares rise this summer.
As for taxes, some senators are proposing -- have we heard this before? -- simplifying the tax code. Wouldn't that be nice. Read Robert Schroeder's story for more.
Sure, the Web is amazingly convenient, and cheap. And I'm a big fan of filing taxes through online software. But I seem to remember that booking travel was a lot more fun when I had to use a travel agent.
-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
How to find cheap flights as summer airfares rise
Rock-bottom airfares will be limited this summer, but that doesn't mean they won't be out there. You just have to look harder, be on constant alert and be ready to pounce.
Airfares heat up for summer travel
Summertime, and the travel is pricey. Priceline.com is predicting a hefty bump in summer air fares.
Listen to Radio Report on airfares for summer travel are on the rise.
Hotels make learning fun, parents get day off
At the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, parents have the option of signing their children up for one of a growing breed of new kids programs that emphasize learning. WSJ's Andrea Petersen reports.
Watch Video Report.
On eve of tax day, senators push for simpler tax rules
Taxes will be simpler to complete, corporations will pay less and individuals will get a break under legislation being promoted by a pair of senators on the eve of tax day.
Extend, or amend, your tax return
If you're not going to get your return in on time, or if you did but now realize there's a mistake, there are ways to mend the error -- by filing either an extension or an amendment to your tax return. MarketWatch's Andrea Coombes reports.
Watch Personal Finance Minute.
Deducting jets and yachts
Richard Kohan, Personal Financial Services Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, answers a multi-million dollar question: Can you deduct your plane or your yacht? Veronica Dagher reports.
Watch Video Report.
Make money with a high-rate bank account
What if you could add $500 to your bottom line and still get great service from your bank? There's a good chance you can, and an online tool can help you do it.
See Jennifer Openshaw.
Commentary: Card issuers owe young consumers a fair deal
My oldest daughter has been getting a little something extra in the mail besides acceptance letters to college: Credit-card applications. Truth be told, she has gotten them for years, ever since we set up her first checking account, but the Credit CARD Act -- which has been in effect since late February -- was supposed to change this.
See Chuck Jaffe.
Health-reform law protects moms who pump milk at work
Pulling off the feat of going back to work and continuing to breastfeed after having a baby is becoming a little easier thanks to a provision in the new health-reform law.
See Kristen Gerencher's Health Matters Blog.
Health records go digital
More doctors are adopting electronic health records, but as billions of federal funds go to expand health-care IT, patients need to tell doctors how it's working for them, says MarketWatch's Kristen Gerencher in this week's Health Minute.
Watch Health Minute.
ECONOMY & POLITICS
Extension of jobless benefits stalls in Senate
Democrats' efforts to extend jobless benefits hit a snag in the Senate on Wednesday, as the absence of one senator kept a bill from advancing.
See story on extension of jobless benefits stalls in Senate.
Food-safety bill aims to beef up FDA enforcement powers
Seven failures in six years. That's how many times one restaurant was allowed to violate seafood-handling procedures before the Food and Drug Administration was able to file an injunction and get the establishment closed.
See story on food-safety bill.
Obama 'confident' legislators can craft bipartisan bank bill
President Barack Obama said Wednesday during a meeting with congressional leaders that he is confident that lawmakers and the White House can come up with a package of bank-reform measures to ensure another crisis like the one seen in September 2008 doesn't happen again, despite stiff opposition from Republican lawmakers.
See story on bank reform.
Fund manager spots undervalued consumer, financial, medical stocks
Mark Coffelt, manager of Empiric Core Equity Fund, said he believes the U.S. stock market has "a long way to go" before the rally is finished, but noted that leadership is changing.
See Your Money with Chuck Jaffe.
Muni-rating tweaks may puzzle investors
Are you confused by ratings agencies' adjustments to muni bond ratings? Ashton Goodfield, head of muni trading at DWS Investments, explains what these ratings changes mean to advisers and investors.
Watch Video Report.
Apple delays iPad International launch
Apple on Wednesday said it will delay selling the iPad overseas by one month, until the end of May, because of surprisingly strong U.S. demand. Stacey Delo discusses with MarketWatch's Dan Gallagher and Barron's Bob O'Brien.
Stop losing your cell phone
Simon Constable talks to Katherine Boehret, who introduces us to two new devices that help prevent your cell phone or mobile device from getting away from you.
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, April 14, 2010 -- 6:30 PM ET
Poll Finds Tea Party Anger Rooted in Issues of Class
The fierce animosity that Tea Party supporters harbor toward
Washington and President Obama in particular is rooted in
deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the
conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are
disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than
the middle class or the rich, according to the latest New
York Times/CBS News poll.
»click here to see the latest top stories from CNBC.com
A breakdown of the Fed's latest Beige Book, with CNBC's Steve Liesman and James Bianco, Bianco Research and Lou Brien, DRW Trading Strategist.
» Watch Video
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