U.S. Stocks Advance


U.S. stocks gained for a second day as investors snapped up shares trading at the cheapest levels in 18 years and concern eased that more banks will fail.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index recovered from a drop of 1.6 percent after its valuation slid to 14.8 times reported earnings, the lowest since 1991. Intel Corp. climbed 3.4 percent on its prediction that profitability may improve next quarter. Bank of America tumbled 14 percent even after getting a $138 billion federal lifeline. Shares rallied in the final hour after Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond fund, said the worst of the credit crisis may be over, according to Reuters.

The S&P 500 added 0.8 percent to 850.12 and trimmed its decline over the past five days to 4.5 percent, its worst week since November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.73 points, or 0.8 percent, to 8,281.22. The KBW Bank Index of 24 lenders sank 4.1 percent to below its lowest closing level since June 1995.

European stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index to its first gain in eight days, as higher metals prices lifted mining companies and better-than-estimated sales at Royal Ahold NV and Delhaize Group boosted retailers.

The Stoxx 600 rallied as much as 3.3 percent earlier today after the U.S. stepped up efforts to stabilize the financial system. Bank of America Corp. received a $138 billion emergency lifeline from the government.

National benchmark indexes advanced in all 18 western European markets except Belgium and Ireland, where the government nationalized Anglo Irish Bank Corp. following a loan scandal. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 percent, as did France’s CAC 40. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.6 percent.

Asian stocks rose, paring the benchmark index’s steepest weekly loss in two months, as the weaker yen boosted Japan’s electronics and auto makers and speculation grew China will pass another stimulus package.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 2.1 percent to 84.84 as of 5:23 p.m. in Tokyo, the sharpest gain since Dec. 17. The gauge, which fell by a record last year as the U.S. housing crisis sparked a global recession, is set for a 5.6 percent drop this week, the most since the period ended Nov. 21.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 2.6 percent to 8,230.15, leading gains among the region’s markets. All other equity benchmarks rose, except in Pakistan and the Philippines.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
1/16/2009 2:55:26 PM