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Stocks surge on Intel, JPMorgan reports

October 15, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — When the Dow Jones industrial average first passed 10,000, traders uncorked champagne. This time around, the feeling was more like relief.

The best-known barometer of the stock market entered five-figure territory again Wednesday, the most visible sign yet that investors believe the economy is clawing its way back from the worst downturn since the Depression.

The milestone caps a stunning 53% comeback for the Dow since early March, when stocks were at their lowest levels in more than a decade.

Cheers went up briefly when the Dow eclipsed the milestone in the early afternoon, during a daylong rally driven by encouraging earnings reports from Intel and JPMorgan Chase. The average closed at 10,015.86, up 144.80 points, or 1.5%.

It was the first time the Dow had touched 10,000 since October 2008, that time on the way down.

The mood was far from the euphoria of March 1999, when the Dow surpassed 10,000 for the first time during the Internet mania that sent the index above 11,000 before a two-year bear market began in 2000.

The next bull market started in 2002 and ended as the Dow peaked at 14,164.53 in October 2007.

From that high point, the index lost more than half its value, falling 54% to its 12-year low of 6,547.05 set last March.

The Dow's gain Wednesday, its biggest since Aug. 21, gave the index its highest close since Oct. 3, 2008.

Broader indexes also climbed to 2009 highs. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 18.83 points, or 1.8%, to 1,092.02. The index, the basis of many mutual funds, is up 61% from a 12-year low in March.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 32.34 points, or 1.5%, to 2,172.23. It's up 71% since March.

The quarterly results from chip maker Intel and banker JPMorgan Chase gave the Dow its final push past 10,000.

Shares of Intel rose 1.7% after reporting a smaller-than-expected drop in profit and sales late Tuesday.

JPMorgan rose 3.3% after the company, the first major bank to report third-quarter earnings, stoked the market's optimism as it easily beat Wall Street's expectations, reporting a profit of $3.59 billion.

In other market highlights:

* The Russell 2,000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2% to a one-year high.

* Yields on government bonds surged along with stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.42% from 3.31% late Tuesday.

* Oil futures rose $1.03 to settle at $75.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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