Investors are growing more confident that the bruised economy is starting to heal. Stocks are ending at their highest level in more than two months following a mix of earnings and economic reports that indicate the pace of the economy’s slide is slowing.
NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are growing more confident that the bruised economy is starting to heal.
Stocks are ending at their highest level in more than two months following a mix of earnings and economic reports that indicate the pace of the economy’s slide is slowing.
Investors jumped into technology, industrial and consumer product stocks Thursday as they look for bets that would pay off in an improving economy. For the second straight day, stocks moved sharply higher late in trading after fluctuating in the early going.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 96 points to its first finish above 8,100 since Feb. 9.
Earnings from technology companies like Nokia and big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. fed hopes that some businesses are stabilizing.
“Investors are saying Armageddon is of the table, the Cat 5 hurricane has passed,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York. “They’re starting to price in the end of the recession.”
Nokia jumped 11.4 percent after the world’s top mobile phone maker maintained its market outlook and sold more mobile phones than analysts had expected.
Some of the buying in tech stocks came ahead of quarterly results from Google Inc., which reported after the end of trading earnings that were better than forecast. The stock ended 2.4 percent and added to its gains in after-hours electronic trading.
JPMorgan Chase rose 2.1 percent after becoming the latest bank to report results that were stronger than predicted. Investors welcomed the news as another positive sign for the struggling industry. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. also had upbeat earnings news in the past week.
A five-week rally in the market since early March has been driven in large part by growing optimism that the financial industry is on the mend.
“Things are not necessarily getting better, but they are getting less worse,” said David Stepherson, a portfolio manager at Hardesty Capital Management in Baltimore.
The Dow ended with a gain of 95.81, or 1.2 percent, at 8,125.43, according to preliminary calculations.
Broad stock indicators rose even more. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 43.64, or 2.7 percent, to 865.30, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 43.64, or 2.7 percent, to 1,670.44.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq’s gain came after technology stocks lagged the broader market Wednesday as Intel Corp. disappointed investors by declining to provide revenue forecasts going forward.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 12.75, or 2.8 percent, to 473.88.