A sixth straight week of stock gains

Sunday, April 11, 2010

U.S. stocks rose for a sixth straight week, giving the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index its longest winning streak since April 2009, as reports showed the fastest job growth in three years and higher-than-estimated retail sales.

Banks and retailers led the advance in the S&P 500, with Macy's shares rising 5.2 percent and Regions Financial stock gaining 10.6 percent. American Express was the Dow Jones industrial average's best performer, up 5.2 percent for the week, followed by Microsoft at 4 percent, as European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said he doesn't expect Greece to default on debts, boosting optimism that a financial crisis will be averted.

The S&P 500 advanced 1.4 percent to 1194.37 last week, building on its biggest first-quarter rally since 1998. The Dow climbed 0.6 percent, to 10,997.35. It exceeded 11,000 for about 10 seconds Friday, crossing that threshold for the first time since September 2008.

Stocks "remain in a powerful bull market," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group in Westport, Conn., which oversees $650 million. "Until something changes, it seems unlikely we're going to have a substantial pullback."

Alcoa will become the first Dow company to report quarterly results Monday. Combined profit for S&P 500 companies will increase 30 percent from a year earlier, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Intel, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and General Electric also post results this week.

The Treasury will sell $26 billion in three-month and $27 billion in six-month bills Monday. They yielded 0.15 percent and 0.24 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading.

-- Bloomberg News

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