Stocks resume heading skyward
NEW YORK » Wall Street extended its November rally into a new week yesterday, betting that an upcoming series of economic reports will show strength in the overall economy with inflation contained.
Comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher put investors at ease about upcoming economic and retail sales reports. He said the economy continues to grow strongly, and he did not indicate that inflation was presenting a problem.
Stocks have risen six out of the past seven weeks as oil prices continued to tumble, helping lift sectors that typically are large energy consumers. Lower energy prices are also viewed as a boost for consumers, especially heading into the holiday shopping period.
"There is a tremendous amount of momentum built into the market," said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist for Weeden & Co. "We've had a good run, we've consolidated, and we need this acceleration going into the holidays."
He pointed out that technology stocks continue to drive the market higher, with both Intel Corp. and Dell Inc. pushing the Nasdaq near to a six-year high. Merck & Co. helped lead the Dow Jones industrials after it said one of its painkillers did not result in increased risk of heart attacks.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.45, or 0.19 percent, to 12,131.88.
Broader stock indicators also gained. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3.52, or 0.25 percent, at 1,384.42, and the Nasdaq composite index was up 16.66, or 0.70 percent, at 2,406.38.
Fisher's speech in San Antonio had little impact on the bond market, which, like Wall Street, is still awaiting today's release of the Labor Department's Producer Price Index and the Commerce Department's retail sales data; both reports will measure the economy during October. Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.61 percent from 4.59 percent late Friday.
Oil prices declined, with a barrel of light sweet crude down $1.01 at $58.58 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.
"We got an awful lot of data, an extremely busy calendar," said Stephen Massocca, president of Pacific Growth Equities. "The drop in oil has helped the market quite a bit, positive comments from the Dallas Fed, and an upgrade of the semiconductor group. There really hasn't been anything on the bear side at all."