Stocks go for an­other rally as banks rise

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Marley Jay

NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks climbed Thurs­day as in­dus­trial com­pa­nies, banks, tech­nol­ogy and ma­te­ri­als firms and en­ergy com­pa­nies all ral­lied. A strong day of cor­po­rate re­sults left in­vestors feel­ing bet­ter about the econ­omy.

For more than a week in­vestors have been por­ing through com­pany earn­ings for signs the econ­omy is grow­ing at a faster pace, and on Thurs­day they felt they found it.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex ad­vanced 17.67 points, or 0.8 per­cent, to 2,355.84. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 174.22 points, or 0.9 per­cent, to 20,578.81.

The Nas­daq com­pos­ite gained 53.74 points, or 0.9 per­cent, to an all-time high of 5,916.78. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks added 17.02 points, or 1.2 per­cent, to 1,384.15.

Amer­i­can Ex­press had a solid first quar­ter as its credit card mem­bers spent more and kept big­ger bal­ances on their cards. The stock gained $4.47, or 5.9 per­cent, to $80.02. SLM, the par­ent of the stu­dent lender Sal­lie Mae, re­ported much stronger rev­enue than ex­pected and its stock climbed $1.17, or 10.1 per­cent, to $12.70. Ci­ti­zens Fi­nan­cial rose $1.05, or 3.1 per­cent, to $35.27 af­ter its re­port.

Rail­road com­pany CSX an­nounced a big­ger profit and more rev­enue than Wall Street ex­pected in the first quar­ter. CSX also said restruc­tur­ing and spend­ing cuts will in­crease its profit by about 25 per­cent this year. The com­pany is cut­ting jobs and re­or­ga­niz­ing af­ter it hired Hunter Har­ri­son, for­mer head of Cana­dian Pa­cific, as its new CEO last month. The com­pany also said it will buy back more stock and raise its div­i­dend. CSX stock jumped $2.65, or 5.6 per­cent, to $49.58.

Ver­i­zon dipped 53 cents, or 1.1 per­cent, to $48.41 as it lost wire­less cell­phone sub­scribers and its profit dropped 20 per­cent. That helped push other tele­com com­pa­nies lower.

Other stocks that pay big div­i­dends also fell. Util­i­ties, com­pa­nies that make and sell house­hold goods, and real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts also de­clined as bond yields rose. That made the stocks less ap­peal­ing to in­vestors seek­ing in­come.

Bond prices fell fur­ther. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note rose to 2.23 per­cent from 2.22 per­cent.

Equip­ment rental com­pany United Ren­tals flopped af­ter its sales fell far short of ex­pec­ta­tions. The com­pany said rental rates are still some­what weak, and its stock lost $6.21, or 5.2 per­cent, to $113.24.

En­ergy prices wob­bled and fin­ished lower. Bench­mark U.S. crude slipped 17 cents to $50.27 a bar­rel in New York while Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, rose 6 cents to $52.99 a bar­rel. How­ever en­ergy com­pa­nies climbed higher. They stum­bled Wed­nes­day as the price of U.S. crude sank 3.8 per­cent.

In other en­ergy trad­ing, whole­sale gaso­line rose 1 cent to $1.67 a gal­lon. Heat­ing oil was flat at $1.58 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas fell 3 cents to $3.16 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

Gold rose 40 cents to $1,283.80 an ounce. Sil­ver lost 14 cents to $18.02 an ounce. Cop­per rose 1 cent to $2.54 a pound.

The dol­lar rose to 109.31 yen from 108.70 yen. The euro inched up to $1.0722 from $1.0721.

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