U.S. stocks, commodities rise as yen weakens to lowest since ’09

U.S. stocks and commodities advanced before Alcoa Inc.’s earnings report, while the yen weakened to the lowest since April 2009 after the Bank of Japan’s unprecedented stimulus measures last week.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.4% at 3:39 p.m. in New York, reversing an earlier decline of 0.3%. Japan’s currency sank 1.8% to 99.32 per dollar, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped to a 4 1/2-year high. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.2%. The S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities jumped 0.7% as oil, copper and wheat rose. South Korea’s won slid to the weakest level in eight months.

Alcoa is scheduled to kick off the U.S. first-quarter earnings season today. Income at S&P 500 companies probably fell 1.8% in the first three months of the year, the first year-over-year drop since 2009, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. Industrial production in Germany rebounded in February, the Economy Ministry said today.

Today’s reversal “continued a pattern, which has shown for quite some time now, which is any weakness is met with buying at some point of the day,” James Gaul, a portfolio manager at Boston Advisors LLC, which oversees about $2.5 billion in assets, said in a telephone interview. “There are people who are afraid of missing out further rallies.”

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. surged 10% as China expedited the approval of its anti-influenza drug Peramivir. Lufkin Industries Inc., a maker of oil-well pumps, jumped 38% as General Electric Co. agreed to buy the company. Johnson & Johnson declined 1.5% after JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut the stock’s rating.

Earnings Season

Alcoa, the first Dow member to publish results each quarter, jumped 1.6% to $8.38 today. The company will report an 8-cent a share profit after the close of regular trading, according to the average of 18 analysts’ estimates. That would be two cents less than the earnings it posted in the first quarters of 2010 and 2012.

The S&P 500 fell 1% last week as U.S. payrolls had the smallest gain in nine months in March while other reports showed manufacturing and services industries expanded less than forecast. The index climbed to an all-time high of 1,570.25 on April 2.

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