Stocks, oil surge on Intel-driven recovery hopes

NEW YORK - Global stocks and crude oil prices jumped 3.0 percent or more on Wednesday after blockbuster earnings from Intel and a raft of economic news suggested the U.S. economy may be pulling out of a deep recession.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 16 Jul 2009, 10:16 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:36 AM

Oil almost topped $62 a barrel at one point on data showing a fall in U.S. crude inventories and after strong results from Goldman Sachs and Intel on Tuesday lifted hopes for recovery.

Safe-haven demand for the U.S. dollar and government debt tumbled as investors shifted into higher-yielding currencies and drove up the price of gold and industrial metals. The U.S. dollar fell to a one-month low against major currencies.

Data showing factories in New York state nearly recovered from recession in July lifted spirits, leading investors to shrug off forecasts from the Federal Reserve for 2009-2011 that said the U.S. jobless rate could top 10 percent this year.

The rally in stocks pushed the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up 6.1 percent so far this week — lifting it again into positive territory for 2009 — in the best three-day advance since stocks surged off a decade low in March.

The Dow and Nasdaq each gained more than 3.0 percent, while the MSCI all-country world index rose 2.97 percent. Emerging markets also surged, with MSCI’s emerging equities index climbing almost 4.0 percent.

The release of Intel’s results after the bell on Tuesday set the tone for a worldwide rally in equities, with the technology bellwether handily beating profit estimates on demand for personal computers that was better than expected.

Intel’s shares jumped 7.3 percent.

“Intel is the guts of the whole technology industry, so when they’re talking about consumers getting more active on the PC front, that augers well for a lot of different things,” said David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York.

AMD Micro Devices , Intel’s main rival, gained 8.7 percent while Microsoft Corp rose 4.4 percent.

The PHLX semiconductor index rose 4.4 percent to post its fifth-straight day of gains — its longest winning streak since a six-day run-up in late May.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 256.72 points, or 3.07 percent, at 8,616.21. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 26.84 points, or 2.96 percent, at 932.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 63.17 points, or 3.51 percent, at 1,862.90. “With the Fed saying that things are looking a little bit better than they thought, that means profits will uniformly look better than everybody thought,” said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst ndex of top shares rose 2.8 percent to close at 863.32 points.

Oil surged after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels, or more than expected. The decline was offset by a bigger-than-forecast rise in gasoline supplies.

U.S. crude settled up $2.02, or 3.39 percent, at $61.54 a barrel. It traded as high as $61.98 a barrel.

London Brent crude settled at $63.09 a barrel, up $2.23.

An improved outlook for the economy tends to make investors more willing to buy riskier assets like stocks and lessen their appetite for safe-haven assets like government debt.

U.S. industrial output declined at a slower pace in June and the New York Fed’s Empire State general business conditions index posted its strongest reading in a year in July, suggesting a deep recession was loosening its grip.

In a sign U.S. consumers’ credit-worthiness may not be deteriorating as rapidly as feared, credit card companies Capital One Financial Corp and Discover Financial Services reported lower-than-expected defaults and delinquencies in June.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 36/32 in price to yield 3.61 percent. The 2-year U.S. Treasury note was down 5/32 in price to yield 1.02 percent.

The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index down 0.97 percent at 79.409.

The euro rose 0.97 percent at $1.4104, while against the yen, the dollar rose 0.69 percent at 94.24.

New York gold futures rose toward $940 an ounce on dollar weakness and the oil rally, and as a faster-than-expected pace in U.S. inflation boosted bullion’s appeal as an investment hedge against a potential upward spiral in prices.

The gold contract for August delivery settled up $16.60 at $939.40 an ounce in New York.

Asian stocks gained for a second day as Intel’s results augured well for the U.S. earnings season and consumer demand globally. Japan’s Nikkei eked out a 0.1 percent gain, but shares elsewhere in the region as measured by MSCI’s Asia-Pacfic index rose 2.9 percent.

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