Wall St. gets lift from profit reports, G-20

Sunday, November 15, 2009

U.S. stocks climbed for a second straight week as the Group of 20 largest economies agreed to maintain economic stimulus efforts, and profits at companies including Wal-Mart Stores and Walt Disney beat analysts' projections.

Shares of American Express jumped 8.4 percent, the top gain in the Dow Jones industrial average, as the company reported that worldwide spending by customers using its cards rose in October. Dow Chemical surged 14.8 percent as it predicted that cost cuts and rising sales will boost earnings more than analysts have estimated.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index climbed 2.3 percent last week, to 1093.48, following a 3.2 percent advance in the first week of November. The Dow average gained 247.05 points, or 2.5 percent, to 10,270.47. The Nasdaq composite index rallied 2.6 percent, to 2167.88.

"The consumer is going to start to come back, and it seems like the market got some confirmation of that," said Stephen F. Auth, chief investment officer for equities at Federated Investors.

The S&P 500, the benchmark for American equity, closed at its highest level in 13 months on Nov. 11, extending its rally from a 12-year low March 9 to 62 percent.

Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, while hosting a meeting of finance ministers from G-20 nations, said that his colleagues decided to keep interest rates low and maintain record budget deficits until economic recoveries take hold.

The United States will auction $30 billion of three-month bills and $31 billion of six-month bills Monday. They yielded 0.06 percent and 0.16 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading. The Treasury will sell one-month bills the next day.

-- Bloomberg News

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