NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks advanced on Wednesday on rising expectations the Federal Reserve will move to prop up the economic recovery, and industrial stocks rose after upbeat economic data from China.
Better-than-expected earnings from Dow components Intel and JP Morgan Chase supported the market, though the individual shares edged lower after rallying in recent weeks. Intel Corp (INTC.O) shed 0.4 percent to $19.69, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) dipped 0.6 percent to $40.16.
Caterpillar rose 1.5 percent to $80.51 and was the top gainer on the Dow after data showed business confidence in China rose and the trade surplus narrowed in the world’s No. 2 economy. The S&P capital goods index (.GSPIC) was up 1 percent.
The dollar remained under pressure after minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting showed the U.S. central bank may once again flood markets with cheap cash to boost growth. The dollar index (.DXY) shed 0.2 percent and reflected the inverse correlation between the dollar and equities. A decline in the greenback has triggered a move into equities.
«Today’s rally is a little bit of the skeptics who weren’t thinking quantitative easing now are, and you are getting a little bit better news on earnings,» said John Canally, investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.
Even with the benchmark S&P 500 posting an 11.6 percent rise since September 1, stocks continued to climb as earnings poured in and investors jumped in.
«People may be chasing here. It’s difficult to charge a client a management fee if they are just sitting in cash,» added Canally.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) gained 75.27 points, or 0.68 percent, to 11,095.67. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX) rose 7.07 points, or 0.60 percent, to 1,176.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) advanced 17.03 points, or 0.70 percent, to 2,434.95.
JP Morgan Chase posted a 23 percent increase in quarterly profit, beating expectations, as a stabilizing economy helped ease losses on credit card loans.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, forecast upbeat fourth-quarter sales and margins, raising hopes the technology sector could end 2010 on a strong note.