Wall Street extends record-breaking rally
NEW YORK » Wall Street rallied again yesterday, with the Dow Jones industrials scoring another record close as investors grew more confident that the Federal Reserve has inflation in hand.
An $8 billion bid from US Airways Group Inc. for Delta Air Lines Inc. added to the market's momentum.
Minutes from the Fed's Oct. 24-25 meeting showed the central bank's governors remain more worried about inflation than the risk the economy would slow too quickly under higher interest rates. Investors seemed to be buying on the notion that the Fed had struck a balance between taming inflation and keeping the economy from falling into recession.
Investors also cheered the possibility of consolidation in the airline industry and remained upbeat following sharp gains Tuesday.
"I think the case for a soft landing is building," said Stuart Schweitzer, global markets strategist at JP Morgan Asset and Wealth Management. "It looks as though the Fed is bringing the economy in for a true soft landing with growth slowing down but not too much."
The Dow rose 33.70, or 0.28 percent, to 12,251.71, moving further into record territory. The Dow set a new trading high of 12,291.73. The energy, industrials and consumer staples sectors led the advance.
Broader stock indicators also gained. The S&P advanced 3.35, or 0.24 percent, to 1,396.57 and passed the 1,400 mark during the session for the first time since 2000. The S&P's record high of 1,527.46 came in the spring of 2000.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 12.09, or 0.50 percent, to 2,442.75, its highest level in 534 years.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 6.90, or 0.88 percent, at 791.96.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 5 to 3 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.7 billion shares.
Bonds fell sharply, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.62 percent from 4.57 percent late Tuesday.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.
Light, sweet crude was up 48 cents a barrel at $58.76 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a U.S. Energy Department report showed stores of gasoline and distillates such as heating oil declined more than expected.
The mood on Wall Street late Tuesday and Wednesday resembled that of October, when the major indexes all rose at least 3 percent and Wall Street appeared confident the economy could slow without cooling too quickly.
The Fed minutes lent support to the notion that the Fed will again leave interest rates unchanged when it meets in January.