S&P tops 1,200 on upbeat earnings, retail data

08:33, April 15, 2010      

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The U.S. stocks rallied across the board on Wednesday as upbeat corporate earnings and economic data lifted market sentiment.

S&P crossed the 1,200 level for the first time since September 2008, when the financial crisis began. Meanwhile, Dow logged triple-digit gains and Nasdaq rallied more than 1.5 percent.

Intel reported strong first-quarter results late Tuesday, which 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.

J.P. Morgan Chase, the first among big banks to release first- quarter results, also posted robust earnings, saying there were strong signs the economy was stabilizing as fewer borrowers fall behind on their loans.

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.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 103.69, or 0.94 percent, to 11,123.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rallied 13.35, or 1. 12 percent, to 1,210.65 and the Nasdaq gained 38.87, or 1.58 percent, to 2,504.86.



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