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

‘Multi-Step’ Plan

Fed Bank of San Francisco President John Williams, who has backed record stimulus, said recent economic data signal gradual job market improvement in line with his expectations. The central bank will probably adopt a gradual, “multi-step” plan for tapering bond buying, Williams said.

Economists forecast the central bank will reduce its monthly $85 billion in asset buying by $10 billion at its meeting on Sept. 17-18, according to the median of 34 responses in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

President Barack Obama intensified his campaign to persuade a reluctant American public to back military action against Syria as Bashar al-Assad threatened retaliation “direct and indirect” if the U.S. attacks. Russia urged Syria to give up its stockpile of chemical weapons if doing so would help avoid a U.S.-led military strike, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Obama is scheduled to deliver a national address at 9 p.m. tomorrow. The Senate is expected to vote on a resolution by the end of this week and the House of Representatives will probably debate the proposal next week.

Volatility Index

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, dropped 2.9% to 15.39. The equity volatility gauge has cut its decline this year to 15% after rallying 30% since Aug. 5.

Raw-materials producers, industrial and technology shares rose at least 1.3% to lead the S&P 500’s 10 main groups.

Molex soared 32% to $38.60 for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The maker of electronic components for products such as Apple’s iPhone agreed to a $7.2 billion acquisition by Koch Industries, the holding company controlled by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Koch will buy Molex’s shares for $38.50 apiece, a 31% premium over the publicly traded common stock, according to a statement today.

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