Stim­u­lus spec­u­la­tion aids S&P

The Washington Post Sunday - - BUSINESS -

U.S. eq­ui­ties are on track for the best monthly per­for­mance in four years as the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex capped a third weekly ad­vance on spec­u­la­tion that cen­tral bank stim­u­lus will con­tinue to un­der­pin eq­uity gains. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9 per­cent in the five days, ex­tend­ing its rally in Oc­to­ber to 5.9 per­cent. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 0.8 per­cent to 17,215.97 in the week, its high­est level since Aug. 19. Eq­ui­ties are again on the up­swing af­ter two months of de­clines as weaker-than-es­ti­mated eco­nomic re­ports from Asia to Europe boosted spec­u­la­tion cen­tral banks will main­tain stim­u­lus mea­sures. Data in the U.S. have been mixed; manufacturing has dis­ap­pointed while jobs and con­sumer con­fi­dence looked solid. Financial mar­kets were jolted Wed­nes­day af­ter Wal-Mart pre­dicted a drop in an­nual profit, but banks lifted mar­kets the fol­low­ing day on good re­sults from Cit­i­group. On Fri­day, Gen­eral Elec­tric Co. jumped to a seven-year high on gains in the avi­a­tion and trans­porta­tion units. The U.S. Trea­sury plans to sell $26 bil­lion in three-month bills and $26 bil­lion in six-month bills on Oct. 19. They yielded 0.01 per­cent and 0.1 per­cent, re­spec­tively, in when-is­sued trad­ing. The gov­ern­ment will also sell four-week bills on Oct. 20 and $7 bil­lion in 30-year in­fla­tion-linked bonds on Oct. 22.

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