By Dow Jones Business News, October 24, 2013, 04:22:00 PM EDT
By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 gaining a day after halting a run to a
record high, with equities picking up steam along with large-cap companies such as Apple Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. on
signs of an improving global economy.
"If these companies are strengthening," then the rest of the market will too, said Dan Greenhaus, chief global
strategist at BTIG LLC. Beyond iPhone maker Apple ( AAPL ) and oil producer Exxon Mobil (XOM), he listed Wal-Mart Stores
Inc. (WMT) and General Electric Co. ( GE ) as bolstering the overall market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 95.88 points, or 0.6%, to 15,509.21.
The S&P 500 index (SPX) climbed 5.69 points, or 0.3%, to 1,752.07. Consumer discretionary led sector gains among the
S&P 500's 10 major sectors, while utilities paced the declines.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) added 21.89 points, or 0.6%, to 3,928.96.
"We're just getting back a little bit of what we gave up yesterday. There is no impetus for the Federal Reserve to
begin its tapering programs; prospects are now deferred well into the first quarter of 2014," said Mark Luschini, chief
investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
"And, we're actually starting to get some numbers on the revenue side that are better than expected," said Luschini,
pointing to AutoNation Inc. ( AN ) and 3M Co. ( MMM ) as examples. "Since the start of July, the dollar has fallen about 6%
, and large multi-nationals are getting a bid as a consequence of that," he added.
On Thursday, the dollar (DXY) edged lower against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners, including the euro
(EURUSD) and the yen (USDJPY).
Ford Motor Co. ( F ) climbed 1.4% after the auto maker reported earnings that topped estimates. Symantec Corp.'s (SYMC)
shares fell almost 13% after the security-software provider projected sales and profit beneath Wall Street's
For every three stocks falling, more than four rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where 716 million shares traded.
Composite volume approached 3.6 billion.
Gold futures (GCZ3) rose $16.30, or 1.2%, to $1,350.30 an ounce. Borrowing costs reflected in the 10-year Treasury
note (10_YEAR) yield rose 1 basis point to 2.514%.
"Gold is firming a little bit, which is a signal of deferred tapering prospects, and bond prices are reacting in the
same vein. They are all saying the same thing, that from what we've seen, there is no impetus for monetary policy to
shift. Given gold's positive view of that, and the bond market's complacent view of that, equity prices remain well
bid," Luschini offered.
Energy prices reversed course after a three-session slide, with crude-oil futures (CLZ3) rising 25 cents, or 0.3%, to
$97.11 a barrel.
"It's a tax cut being applied to the consumer in the form of lower gas prices, which is particularly important leading
into the all-important holiday season," said Luschini, referring to the commodity's recent slide.
HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit's China purchasing managers' index rose to 50.9 this month, with the initial read
illustrating the world's second-largest economy is gaining traction.
The preliminary reading of Markit's U.S. flash manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 51.5 in October from
52.8 in September, with Markit's chief economist blaming the government shutdown for the pullback.
Other U.S. economic data had jobless benefits falling by 12,000 to 350,000 last week, but the count was viewed as
distorted due to computer problems in California.
The claims data "should not have much bearing on the market since there were major issues with California's computers
during that time," Kevin Giddis, a fixed-income analyst at Raymond James, noted in emailed commentary.
A separate report found the U.S. trade deficit little changed in August, with both imports and exports losing steam.
"Leading into September, where we expected tapering to begin, good news was good news. Suddenly bad news is good. I
think that's perverse, but that's what's driving the market right now," said Luschini.
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