Stimulus, earnings spur stocks
Central-bank stimulus and strong earnings from the largest tech companies combined to give U.S. stocks their fourth straight weekly gain and propel the Standard & Poor’s 500 toward its best month since 2011.
The S&P 500 has jumped 11 percent from its summer low, with the surge in October led by commodities producers and technology shares, the groups that fueled the August selloff. The gains put U.S. equities back in the black for the first time since the correction. The S&P 500 rallied 2.1 percent in the five days to 2,075.15, for a fourth weekly gain that is the longest streak of the year. The gauge closed at the highest since Aug. 19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 157.54 points to 17,646.70, while the Nasdaq 100 Index surged 4.2 percent for its best week since July.
Equities got an boost during the week from central banks. On Friday, the People’s Bank of China cut interest rates and banks’ reserve requirements to support a slowing economy. That announcement came a day after the European Central Bank signaled it will bolster stimulus if needed. Then, the results from Microsoft Corp., Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. late Thursday sparked a rally.
The U.S. Treasury will sell $26 billion in three-month bills and $26 billion in sixmonth bills on Oct. 26. They yielded 0.025 percent and 0.14 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading.
Editor’s note: Going forward, our weekly composite stock listing highlights companies based in Washington or with a strong presence here. The rest of the table shows firms as ranked by market capitalization. And we’ve added year-to-date data because readers told us it would be useful.