S&P 500 gains for fifth day on Chinese exports, acquisitions

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a fifth straight day, as exports from China topped forecasts and corporate acquisitions fueled optimism in the world’s largest economy.

Molex Inc. jumped 32% after agreeing to be acquired by Koch Industries Inc. Apple Inc. rose 1.7% before an investor event tomorrow where the company will unveil new models of the iPhone. An S&P index of homebuilders jumped 5.2%, the most in almost two months. Delta Air Lines Inc. rallied 8.2% as S&P Dow Jones Indices said the world’s second-largest carrier will replace BMC Software Inc. in the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 gained 1% to 1,670.98 at 2:51 p.m. in New York, poised for the highest closing level since Aug. 14. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 152.48 points, or 1%, to 15,074.98. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 3.9% lower than the 30-day average at this time of day.

“We’re latching on to the better trading in Asia after the Chinese data,” Robert Pavlik, New York-based chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC, said by phone. His firm manages about $4.4 billion. “The fact that nothing has transpired in Syria is also a positive in a strange sense. The Street is somewhat relieved that the U.S. hasn’t engaged in military action yet.”

The S&P 500 advanced 1.4% last week as data showed signs of economic growth and investors weighed prospects for central bank stimulus cuts amid tensions over Syria. The benchmark for U.S. equities retreated as much as 4.6% from the record high on Aug. 2. It has rebounded 2.5% from a two-month low on Aug. 27.

China Exports

Chinese exports climbed 7.2% in August from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said in Beijing yesterday. That compared with the 5.5% median estimate of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and July’s 5.1% gain. Imports increased a less-than-estimated 7%.

“Economic data out of Asia seems to be supporting markets, but no doubt investors will remain vigilant in the short term about any developments in the Syria situation and the next move from the Federal Reserve,” James Butterfill, who helps oversee $44 billion as head of global equity strategy at Coutts & Co. in London, said by phone.

The equities gauge has rallied 17% this year as the Fed continued to provide stimulus to the economy. A report Sept. 6 showed payrolls in the U.S. climbed less than projected in August and gains in the prior two months were revised downward, fueling speculation that any Fed move to taper its stimulus program will be limited.

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