U.S. stocks rally to four-month high

08:31, September 21, 2010      

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U.S. stocks extended its September rally and finished at the highest level in about four months on Monday, as market sentiment picked up about a slow but continuous recovery.

Dow Jones industrial average rose 145 points, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite index gained more than 1.5 percent. Consumer discretionary, energy and financials were among the best performers.

The upward momentum continued after the S&P broke the key technical level of 1,131 in early trading, the high end of its recent trading range, which encouraged more buyers coming into the market.

As of market closing, the Dow gained 145.77 points, or 1.37 percent, to 10,753.62. The S&P rose 17.12 points, or 1.52 percent, to 1,142.71 and the Nasdaq rallied 40.22 points, or 1.74 percent, to 2,355.83. All major indexes climbed to the highest level since mid-May.

Stocks have been gaining in the past three weeks, on signs that the economy is still growing, though the pace may have slowed down.

The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced in a statement on Monday that the recession started in December 2007 officially ended in June 2009.

NBER said the recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.

The decision by the NBER also means that any future downturn in the economy would be considered a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in 2007.

Investors were also awaiting the Federal Reserve's monetary meeting on Tuesday, hoping to get more insight into the economy and more details on Fed's possible easing measures to bolster the recovery.

Hopes are growing among investors that Fed will at least hint to buy Treasurys and mortgage bonds in an effort to further stimulate the struggling economy.

Market largely overlooked a downbeat housing report on Monday, which showed the confidence among homebuilders stuck at 18-month low. With a string of housing data due out later this week, analysts were hoping the mostly-battered sector to show some signs of stabilization.

Oil prices touched 75.45 U.S. dollars a barrel before retreating to settle at 74.86 dollars a barrel in New York trading. Rising oil prices pushed energy and basic material stocks higher.

Among retailers, Office Depot, Gap and Best Buy rose after Wall Street analysts' upbeat ratings.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张心意)

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