Wall Street ended the first half of 2004 with a moderate advance Wednesday as the Federal Reserve's widely expected interest rate hike allowed investors to put weeks of uncertainty behind them.
The markets' reaction to the Fed's move -- which raises the benchmark lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point -- was somewhat muted, as the hike was what investors had anticipated. The increase, bringing rates off their 45-year low of 1 percent to 1.25 percent, was the first in four years.
The Fed's accompanying policy statement promised to continue a "measured pace" of rate increases to combat inflation.
"This has certainly been a very well telegraphed change in direction," said Jack Caffrey, equities strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. "It was an expected increase and a very balanced statement, both designed to keep the market confident in the Fed's ability to manage the economy."
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 22.05, or 0.2 percent, to 10,435.48. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 4.64, or 0.4 percent, to 1140.84, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 12.86, or 0.6 percent, to 2047.79.
Wednesday marked the halfway point of 2004, as well as the end of the second quarter. So far this year, the Dow is down 0.2 percent, but the S&P 500 has gained 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq has climbed 2.2 percent. All three benchmarks were up for the quarter as well as for the month of June.
A number of companies reported better-than-expected earnings late Tuesday and Wednesday before the session. Cereal and packaged foods producer General Mills gained $1.41, to $47.53, after posting earnings that beat Wall Street expectations by 2 cents per share.
Agriculture and biotech firm Monsanto posted a 45 percent gain in quarterly earnings, which were 3 cents per share higher than analysts' estimates. Monsanto rose $1.30, to $38.50. Research In Motion, makers of the popular BlackBerry e-mail pager, surged $9.07, or 15.3 percent, to $68.45, after it beat estimates by 4 cents per share.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 28.47, to 6602.99; the American Stock Exchange index rose 5.55, to 1249.82; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3.69, to 591.52.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 14 to 5 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.47 billion shares, from 1.37 billion on Tuesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers outnumbered decliners by 3 to 2 and volume totaled 1.71 billion, up from 1.55 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $7.81 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.59 percent, from 4.69 percent on Tuesday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and fell against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 108.83 yen, up from 108.37 late Tuesday, and a euro bought $1.2185, up from $1.2083.
* Light, sweet crude oil for August delivery settled at $37.05, up $1.39, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $392.60 a troy ounce, from $392.50 on Tuesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.