U.S. Stocks Rise; Dow Erases Post-Election Losses

Date : 12/11/2012 @ 5:04PM
Source : Dow Jones News

U.S. Stocks Rise; Dow Erases Post-Election Losses

--Europe markets broadly higher after surprise jump in Germany economic sentiment

--Budget talks between White House, House Speaker Boehner progressed recently, WSJ reports

By Matt Jarzemsky

NEW YORK--U.S. stocks rose, erasing the Dow industrials' losses since the election, as investors cheered reports of progress in budget talks and Apple Inc. (AAPL) helped push the technology sector higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78.56 points, or 0.6%, to 13248.44, increasing for a fifth-straight session. Blue chips' close above their Election Day level of 13245.68 was the first since then and reversed a 5.3% drop in the nine days that followed the vote.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index added 9.29 points, or 0.7%, to 1427.84. Apple rose 2.2%, rebounding after falling a fourth-straight day Monday. Intel climbed 2.8% after disclosing details of a new process for making chips for mobile devices.

The tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite Index rose 35.34 points, or 1.2%, to 3022.30.

"There was some marginal good news from behind the scenes as to how the meetings went with the Speaker and the President," said Phil Orlando, who helps manage $370 billion as chief market strategist at Federated Investors. "People are grasping at straws here. So if someone credible comes out and says Obama and Boehner had a good meeting, maybe that's good enough for some people to put some money on the table."

Budget negotiations between President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have progressed steadily and become more serious in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday, citing people close to the process. Lawmakers have sparred for several weeks over how to deal with tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January, the so-called fiscal cliff.

Stocks trimmed gains Tuesday after Mr. Boehner said Republicans still are waiting for the White House to propose spending cuts. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats aren't going to make an offer on spending cuts for Republicans and it will be "extremely difficult" to get a deal done before Christmas.

The trade deficit for October widened to $42.24 billion from September's $41.55 billion, and versus expectations of $42.1 billion.

Wholesale inventories rose more than expected in October, as sales fell amid an economy that remained tepid. Job openings edged up last month, but the number of people leaving their jobs also rose, the Labor Department reported.

Earlier, the National Federation of Independent business said its small-business optimism index for November fell more than expected.

European markets moved broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 rising 0.3% for a seventh-straight daily gain, after a surprise boost in German investor sentiment. The ZEW economic expectations index showed its first positive reading since May. Germany's DAX 30 stock index rallied 0.8%.

Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX 35 rose 1.5% after the country sold more Treasury bills than planned, at lower borrowing costs, and Greece's participation in a debt-buyback program helped push the Athens Composite up 2.3%.

Asian markets were mixed, although Chinese data showed the production of industrial metals rose to a record. China's Shanghai Composite eased 0.4%, Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.4%, and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average inched down 0.1%.

Crude-oil futures gained 0.3% to settle at $85.79 a barrel, while gold futures lost 0.3% to finish at $1,708.20 an ounce. The dollar slipped against the euro but rose versus the yen. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell in price to yield 1.651%.

In corporate news, shares of American International Group gained 5.7% after the U.S. government priced an offering of the last of its remaining shares of common stock it owned at $32.50 a share, a 2.6% discount to Monday's close.

TripAdvisor jumped 6.6% after Liberty Interactive, the investment company led by billionaire John Malone, disclosed it is paying about $300 million for a stake in the travel-site operator.

HCA Holdings slid 2.6% after the hospital operator said it was selling 32 million shares of its common stock to the public on behalf of certain affiliates of, or funds sponsored by, Bain Capital Partners and KKR.

Dollar General fell 7.8% after the discount retailer forecast slowing same-store growth and "flattish" gross margins for the current quarter.

Fellow discounter Family Dollar Store fell 8.4% as J.P. Morgan analysts cut their rating on the shares, saying the company's financial performance is priced into the stock.

Urban Outfitters climbed 4.5% after the company disclosed its retail business has seen "high single-digit" expansion in same-store sales so far this quarter, which is higher than some analysts had predicted.

Clearwire jumped 12% after reports that Sprint, which already owns 51% of the wireless broadband provider, is moving closer to acquiring the rest of the company. Sprint's shares fell 1.6%.

Write to Matt Jarzemsky at matthew.jarzemsky@dowjones.com

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