Stocks rose today as some investors speculated that economic growth will accelerate after the war with Iraq is over.
SBC Communications rose after people familiar with the matter said the phone company will not bid for General Motors' DirecTV satellite-television unit. Concord EFS, which owns the largest network of automated teller machines in the United States, surged on speculation that it is in talks to be acquired by First Data.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index climbed 10.30 points, or 1.2 percent, to 858.48. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 77.73, or 1 percent, to 8069.86, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 7.13, or 0.5 percent, to 1348.30. Benchmark indexes had fallen the past four days on concern that the war will last months and is already curbing business spending.
"There are no indications that things will soften a great deal more from here," said Peter Conrad, an analyst at Kopp Investment Advisors, which oversees about $1.5 billion in Edina, Minn. "We're close to a bottom, and it's just a question of when things start to turn."
Stocks extended gains after Iraq's information minister appeared on television in place of Saddam Hussein, who had been scheduled to speak. The Iraqi leader's absence renewed speculation among some investors about whether Hussein had been killed or injured.
SBC jumped $1.32, to $21.38, after the local carrier dropped plans, said people close to the matter, to buy DirecTV, a part of GM's Hughes Electronics unit. SBC's stock had fallen 20 percent since its interest in DirecTV became known, on concern the purchase would increase its debt.
Concord EFS climbed $2.47, to $11.87, while First Data sank $2.33 to $34.68. First Data, the world's biggest credit card processor and parent of the Western Union money-transfer service, would pay as much as $7 billion for Concord, a source said.
ICN Pharmaceuticals rose $1.59, to $10.50. Some doctors have sought to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, with ribavirin, a hepatitis treatment made by ICN unit Ribapharm.
AMR climbed 90 cents, to $3, for a two-day gain of 90 percent. The company's American Airlines unit said it will reduce pilot pay by 23 percent and cut 2,500 jobs to it help avoid bankruptcy.
Altria Group, the parent of Philip Morris USA, slumped $1.86, to $28.10, its seventh straight decline. Philip Morris failed to reach a compromise with plaintiffs to reduce a $12 billion deposit required to appeal a verdict over allegedly deceptive advertising.
Stocks briefly erased their gains after a midmorning report by the Institute for Supply Management showed that manufacturing contracted in March for the first time in five months. But Norbert Ore, chairman of the institute's manufacturing committee, said the index is likely to rebound in April.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 63.35, to 4793.56; the American Stock Exchange index fell 3.05, to 824.21; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4.15, to 368.69.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 9 to 4 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.43 billion shares, from 1.38 billion on Monday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers outnumbered decliners by 3 to 2 and volume totaled 1.38 billion, down from 1.51 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $1.25 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 3.82 percent, from 3.80 percent on Monday.
* The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 118.08 yen, down from 118.14 late Monday, and a euro bought $1.0909, up from $1.0896.
* Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery settled at $29.78, down $1.26, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $334.30 a troy ounce, from $335.90 on Monday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.