Friday, September 14 15:48:28
Commodity-related stocks led a rally in U.S. equities today, putting the S and P 500 on track for a fourth straight day of gains as investors cheered an aggressive plan by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy.
The Federal Reserve launched another stimulus program Thursday, its third quantitative easing measure, saying it would pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until the jobs market showed sustained growth.
The Fed announcement lifted the benchmark S and P 500 index to its highest intraday level since Jan. 2, 2008.
Big-cap giants Apple Inc and Exxon Mobil, the two largest companies in the U.S. by market value, continued to scale multi-year highs, and the small-cap Russell 2000 hit a record peak.
U.S. retail sales rose 0.9 percent in August, advancing for a second straight month, boosted by automobiles and high gasoline prices, but the underlying tone pointed to modest economic growth in the third quarter.
"When you start to decompose the look of what happened in the retail number, people are going to start to back away a little bit; although the numbers weren't any surprise, they were pretty much on consensus," said Sandy Lincoln, chief market strategist at BMO Asset Management U.S. in Chicago.
"It (also) adds a little bit of additional credibility and validity, if anybody needed it, for what (Fed Chairman Ben) Bernanke did yesterday."
U.S. consumer prices rose 0.6 percent in August, the most in three years as the cost of gasoline jumped, but there was little sign of a pick-up in underlying inflation pressures.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 73.50 points, or 0.54 percent, to 13,613.36. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index rose 9.31 points, or 0.64 percent, to 1,469.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 29.42 points, or 0.93 percent, to 3,185.24.