U.S. stocks rise, S&P 500 heads for decade-best year gain

Small Stocks

The smallest stocks are rallying almost twice as fast as bigger companies in the U.S., a bullish economic signal from businesses whose profits are most dependent on domestic demand.

Shares of companies from Rite Aid Corp. to Teledyne Technologies Inc. in the Russell 2000 Index (RTY) have advanced 32 percent in 2013, compared with 19 percent for the Dow. The spread is the widest for any year since 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Three of the last four times small-caps outperformed by this much, the economy grew faster the next year and stocks stayed in a bull market for another year or more, based on data from the past 34 years.

Gains in smaller companies that are more dependent on U.S. growth show investors are betting the world’s largest economy will pick up even after jobs growth slowed and the government shutdown weighed on gross domestic product. Smaller firms are surpassing analyst earnings estimates by more than Dow companies and are forecast to grow faster next year.

“If you’re focused on the U.S., and the U.S. is performing very well, then of course your revenues and earnings are going to be much better,” Kully Samra of Charles Schwab Corp., which has $2.15 trillion of assets globally, said by phone Oct. 24 from London. “Other regions are at different stages of dealing with structural issues, and the U.S. has already dealt with them.”

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