U.S. stocks gain while Middle-East shares slump, metals decline

U.S. stocks rose for a second day, led by technology and automobile companies, and Treasuries fell as the Federal Reserve said the economy maintained a “modest to moderate” pace of growth. Shares in the Middle East fell as the U.S. moved closer to a military strike against Syria.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.8% to 1,653.08 at 4 p.m. in New York. Benchmark gauges in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai lost more than 2%. The S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities dropped 0.7% as metals led losses. Ten-year Treasury yields increased four basis points to 2.90%, while the Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index retreated for the first time in six days. The Australian dollar rose against 15 of 16 major peers after the economy accelerated.

Micron Technology Inc. paced a rally in chipmakers as a fire forced a Korean competitor to suspend operations at a factory in China, while General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. climbed after monthly U.S. sales growth exceeded estimates. The Fed’s Beige Book survey showed consumers spent more on travel and tourism while manufacturing expanded, as investors searched for clues to the central bank’s plans for stimulus. Stocks maintained gains as a Senate panel authorized a limited military strike in Syria.

“Managers actually are fairly bullish on the environment,” Arvin Soh, a New York-based fund manager with GAM, said by phone. His firm has more than $120 billion under management. “The view has been, ‘yes we have some serious issue with Syria, but at the end of the day, growth is improving.’”

Economy Watch

The S&P 500 gained 0.4% yesterday after a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing grew faster than forecast last month. The Labor Department will probably say Sept. 6 that U.S. payrolls rose by 180,000 in August, up from 162,000 in July, according to the median estimate of 85 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Nine of the 10 main S&P 500 industries advanced today, with health-care and telephone companies jumping at least 1.1% to lead gains.

Micron jumped 5.3% to help lead a gauge of S&P 500 chipmakers up 2.7%. SK Hynix Inc., the world’s second- largest maker of computer-memory chips, suspended operations at a factory that makes dynamic random-access memory chips for mobile phones and personal computers. Apple Inc. advanced 2.1% after Cantor Fitzgerald LP initiated coverage of the shares with a buy rating and a 12-month price estimate of $777, 59% higher than yesterday’s close.

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