LATEST:- U.S. Markets Wrap: Stocks, Treasuries Rise on Improved Outlook

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

By Dakin Campbell and Matt Townsend

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its highest level since November, as a gauge of economic indicators topped projections and speculation grew that CIT Group Inc. will avoid bankruptcy. Treasuries rose and the dollar fell.

Caterpillar Inc. and Alcoa Inc. rallied at least 3.7 percent as the Conference Board’s gauge of the economic outlook increased for a third straight month. CIT Group jumped 79 percent as a person briefed on the board’s deliberations said the lender has reached a financing agreement with bondholders. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may outline his strategy tomorrow for exiting history’s biggest monetary expansion in testimony to Congress.

“Given the general weakness of the economy and concerns over corporate profitability going into the second quarter, reports to date have been a pleasant surprise,” said Dean Gulis, part of a group that manages $2.5 billion for Loomis Sayles & Co. in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “This week it’s going to continue to rally. The worm has turned a little bit. People are feeling better about the economy.”

The S&P 500 added 1.1 percent to 951.13 at 4:05 p.m. in New York, above its best close since Nov. 5. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 104.21 points, or 1.2 percent, to 8,848.15, erasing its loss for the year and closing at a six- month high. Treasuries rose, pushing yields down from the highest levels in almost four weeks, amid speculation Bernanke may ease inflation concerns. The dollar dropped to a six-week low against the euro.

Industry Groups

All 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose today, led by consumer, commodity and industrial shares. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its forecast for the index, saying improving earnings will spur the steepest second-half rally since 1982. The bank raised its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,060, a 15 percent increase from its projection of 940 on June 30.

Earnings topped analysts’ estimates by an average of 15 percent for S&P 500 companies that reported quarterly results since July 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, with 35 out of 43, or 81 percent, beating estimates.

Ten-year note yields fell the most in six days before the central bank chairman’s semiannual economic report to lawmakers at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Washington. U.S. debt fell earlier and stocks rose as CIT, seeking to stave off bankruptcy, was said to be offered financing from bondholders, damping demand for the safety of government debt.


“The focus of Treasuries is on Bernanke’s testimony,” said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income sales, trading and research at the brokerage Morgan Keegan Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. “We are caught in a summertime range trade. The general feeling is that he will say things are getting better, but make no mention of when the economy will do a full turn.”

The 10-year note’s yield fell four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 3.61 percent at 5:03 p.m. in New York, according to BGCantor Market Data. It earlier touched 3.72 percent, the highest level since June 23. The price of the 3.125 percent security maturing in May 2019 rose 11/32, or $3.44 per $1,000 face amount, to 96 1/32.

The dollar fell while the yen slid as the possibility of a CIT debt restructuring encouraged higher-yield demand. The U.S. currency declined 0.8 percent to $1.4234 per euro at 5:03 p.m. in New York, from $1.4102 on July 17. It reached $1.4249, the weakest level since June 5. The yen depreciated 0.9 percent to 134.11 per euro from 132.85 after trading at 134.76, the weakest level since July 3. Japan’s currency traded at 94.22 versus the dollar, compared with 94.19.

‘Risk Assets’

“People are looking for risk assets, not with a lot of conviction, but with equities there is some appetite,” said Brian Kim, a foreign-exchange strategist in Stamford, Connecticut, at UBS AG, the world’s second-largest currency trader. “They’re leaning away from safe havens, and the dollar and yen kind of suffered.”

The Dollar Index, which the ICE uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, touched 78.799, the weakest level since June 3. The index, which reached the highest in almost three years on March 4 and the lowest in 2009 on June 2, traded in a range of about 1.5 points above or below 80 since the beginning of last month.

Crude oil rose for a fourth day. The commodity advanced after a measure of economic indicators signaled that the worst of the recession is over. The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months increased 0.7 percent, more than forecast, and climbed three straight months for the first time since 2004.

‘A New High’

“We’ve reached a new high on the back of the weak dollar and equity market strength,” said Tom Bentz, a senior energy analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc. in New York. “There’s increased optimism and some earnings are better than expected.”

Crude oil for August delivery rose 48 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $64.04 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices reached $64.90, the highest since July 7. Oil has gained 44 percent this year.

Gold climbed to a five-week high as a weaker dollar and higher oil prices boosted the metal’s appeal as an alternative investment and a hedge against inflation.

Gold futures for August delivery gained $11.30, or 1.2 percent, to $948.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division. Earlier, the price reached $955.40, the highest for a most-active contract since June 12.

“Gold is moving up today due to the lower U.S. dollar,” said Lannie Cohen, the president of Capitol Commodity Services Inc. in Indianapolis.


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