Stocks Push Ahead; Dow Up 74.63
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks moved higher today in a reversal of Monday’s sell-off in blue-chip stocks. Analysts said investors were growing more confident that interest rates would remain stable.
In midday trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 74.63 at 10,723.14.
Broader stock indicators were also higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 12.71 at 1,366.83, and the Nasdaq composite index, which reached a new closing high on Monday, was up 42.54 at 3,019.19 and appeared headed toward its first close above the psychologically important 3,000 mark.
``In the absence of bad news, the market goes up,″ said Robert Stovall, president of Stovall/21st Advisers in New York.
That’s a sharp turnaround from earlier in the fall, according to Stovall, when investors, fearing an imminent interest rate hike, battered blue-chip stocks and cut more than 1,000 points from the Dow.
Adding to a sense of cautious optimism was the Commerce Department’s report that Americans’ personal income held steady in September. Personal spending rose 0.4 percent, but that was just slightly more than the 0.3 percent increase analysts had predicted.
Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co., said the market’s reaction to the news indicates investors feel the United States economy is slowing by itself and may not need a prod from Federal Reserve policy makers.
Investors are focusing on every piece of news that could signal which direction the Fed will take at its next meeting on Nov. 16. The Fed has raised interest rates twice this year _ in June and August _ in an effort to slow the nation’s economy and stem inflation.
A speech this morning by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan gave little indication of which way the Fed might go in two weeks.
Financial stocks were higher, reflecting growing optimism about interest rates. Citigroup was up 1 3/16 at 54 9/16, and Chase Manhattan was up 2 at 85 9/16.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 9-to-5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 425.71 million shares, up from Monday’s midday pace.
The Russell 2000 index was up 3.05 at 434.87.