Stocks Inch Up on Continued Optimism

Sunday, August 30, 2009

U.S. stocks rose for a second straight week as better-than-estimated consumer confidence, housing data and technology-sector earnings suggested the recession is ending.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index advanced 0.3 percent, to 1028.93, climbing to a 10-month high on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average added 38.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to finish at 9544.20.

The Nasdaq composite index increased 0.4 percent, to 2028.77.

"We're starting to come through the recession and will probably see bluer skies for the next six to 12 months," said John S. Wilson, chief technical strategist at Morgan Keegan, a Memphis-based firm that manages $120 billion. "There's a lot of money that's missed this rally, and it's starting to realize that this may not be a bull trap in a bear market."

Stocks fell Friday, led by companies whose earnings benefit least from economic growth. Boeing rallied the most in the Dow this week as it said the 787 Dreamliner will fly this year. Intel gained on an increase in its forecast. Utilities, consumer goods sellers and health-care companies accounted for three of the five steepest drops among the 10 groups in the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 has risen 4.2 percent in August on better-than-estimated corporate profits and signs of an improving economy. More than 72 percent of S&P 500 companies beat the average analyst estimate for second-quarter earnings, matching the highest proportion since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 1993.

Brown-Forman, Ciena and H&R Block are the S&P 500 companies scheduled to report earnings this week.

The Treasury will auction $30 billion of three-month bills and $29 billion of six-month bills on Monday. They yielded 0.15 percent and 0.25 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading. The Treasury will sell one-month bills on Tuesday.

-- Bloomberg News

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