U.S. stocks rebound while yen plunges on central bank stimulus

U.S. stocks advanced, rebounding from yesterday’s drop, as central banks in Japan and Europe reassured investors that they will keep economies awash in cash to bolster growth. Commodities slid for a fifth day and the yen weakened the most since October 2011.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3% at 3:12 p.m. in New York, rebounding from yesterday’s 1.1% retreat from a record. The S&P GSCI Index of 24 commodities lost 0.9% and has tumbled about 3.8% in five days. Ten- year Treasury yields fell five basis points to 1.76%, the lowest since Jan. 2. Japan’s currency depreciated 3.3% to 96.17 yen per dollar while Korea’s won slid to a six-month low. The euro reversed early losses to rally 0.7% to $1.2939.

The Bank of Japan said it will buy longer-term government bonds as part of its asset-purchase program while European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy will remain accommodative after keeping the benchmark rate at 0.75%. U.S. data showed jobless claims increased last week, a day before the monthly payrolls report.

“Expectations were high for the Bank of Japan and they managed to exceed expectations,” Janelle Nelson, a Minneapolis- based portfolio analyst with RBC Wealth Management’s portfolio advisory group, said in a phone interview. Her firm manages about $315 billion in client assets. “The big issue for investors will be what the U.S. employment report shows tomorrow.”

The government report tomorrow is forecast to show a gain of 190,000 jobs in U.S. payrolls last month, following a 236,000 advance in February, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The jobless rate probably stayed at 7.7%.

Jobless Claims

Jobless claims rose by 28,000 to 385,000 last week, the highest since Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed in a report that reflected the difficulty in adjusting the figures around the Easter holiday and spring break at schools. The median forecast of 47 economists in a survey called for a drop to 353,000.

The S&P GSCI Index extended yesterday’s 2% slump and slid to the lowest level since December on a closing basis as 15 of its 24 commodities retreated. Gold for immediate delivery declined as much as 1.1% to $1,540.27 an ounce, the lowest in 10 months, and silver fell 0.4%. West Texas Intermediate oil dropped 1.3% to $93.26 a barrel and is down 4% in the past two sessions, its worst two-day decline since Nov. 8.

Among U.S. stocks moving today, McDonald’s Corp., AT&T Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. rose at least 1.4% to lead gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average while International Business Machines Corp., Alcoa Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. fell the most. Brinker International Inc. gained 1.7% after Raymond James Financial Inc. raised its rating on the owner of the Chili’s and Maggiano’s restaurant chains.

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