Nasdaq has best day since early December
NEW YORK » Wall Street bounded higher yesterday, lifting the Nasdaq composite index well over 1 percent after profit reports from Yahoo Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. restored investors' confidence in the tech sector. The Dow Jones industrials logged fresh trading and closing highs.
There was little overall movement in the energy and health sectors in response to President Bush's State of the Union address, during which he called for expanded health insurance coverage and a 20 percent reduction the country's consumption of gasoline over the next 10 years. Some alternative-energy companies pulled back after rising sharply before the speech.
In an essentially all-earnings day, investors were left without new economic data to help provide some clues about the direction of interest rates.
"I think investors were waiting with the techs for the earnings to come out," said Neil Massa, equity trader at John Hancock Funds. "Investors were in the show-me mode. They had to be shown good numbers because they didn't want to take anything for granted because they had been laggards for a while."
The tech-laden Nasdaq composite index jumped 34.87, or 1.43 percent, to 2,466.28. The gain marked the Nasdaq's biggest one-day increase since early December.
The Dow rose 87.97, or 0.70 percent, to 12,621.77 after rising 56.64 on Tuesday. The Dow surpassed a record close of 12,582.59 set Jan. 16; it was the Dow's 26th record close since the blue chip average began its surge higher at the start of October. The Dow also reached a record intraday high of 12,623.45, topping a trading high of 12,614.00 reached a week earlier.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index reached a six-year high, rising 12.14, or 0.85 percent, to 1,440.13.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 2.86 billion shares, compared with 3.02 billion shares traded Tuesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 8.65, or 1.10 percent, at 794.03.
Bond prices showed little change as there was no economic news to guide investors. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was flat at 4.81 percent from late Tuesday.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Light, sweet crude settled up 33 cents at $55.37 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as investors grew more confident OPEC would make good on production cuts and cooler weather took hold in the Northeast.
Prices rose even as U.S. government figures showed a build in crude, gasoline and distillate inventories last week.