Strong earnings, retail data boost Wall Street sharply higher

08:32, April 15, 2010      

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Wall Street surged on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping three digits, as robust corporate earnings and better-than-expected economic data provided new evidence that U.S. economy is healing at a slow but steady pace.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 103.69, or 0.94 percent, to 11,123.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.35, or 1.12 percent, to 1,210.65 and the Nasdaq was up 38.87, or 1.58 percent, to 2,504.86.

The Dow's biggest gainer in percentage terms was J.P. Morgan, which jumped 4.05 percent to 47.73 dollars per share after the bank posted robust earnings.

J.P. Morgan Chase, the first among big banks to release first- quarter results, said on Wednesday that its net income rose 57 percent to 3.3 billion dollars in the first three months of the year as trading profits in its investment bank helped offset continued consumer credit losses.

Intel was also among the best performers in the Dow after its first-quarter results easily beat market expectations. According to its report, the chip maker recorded a net income of 2.4 billion dollars for the quarter, an increase of 288 percent compared to the first quarter a year ago. The company also said it plans to hire more than 1,000 employees this year, highlighting its optimism for the chip market.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq rose most in three major indexes, led by Apple Inc., whose share prices hit an all-time high during the session. Apple ended 1.34 percent higher at 245.69 dollars per share after the consumer electronics maker said it would delay the international debut of its iPad tablet computer because of heavy buying from U.S. consumers.

On economic news front, retail sales, reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday morning, grew by 1.6 percent in March, the biggest gain in four months. The numbers were better than estimates, showing consumers were more willing to spend as the economy was improving.

Separately, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in March, in line with expectations. The reading was consistent with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke' s latest assessment that the slowdown in inflation is broad based and consumer prices were expected to remain subdued.

What's more, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book that the economy expanded "somewhat" across most of the United States in March as consumer spending and manufacturing improved, signaling the recovery is broadening without gaining much speed.



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