U.S. Stocks Rise


U.S. stocks rallied, extending the market’s best monthly gain since 1974, on better-than-estimated earnings at Best Buy Co. and ConAgra Foods Inc. and prospects for lower labor costs at General Motors Corp.

Best Buy, the largest U.S. electronics chain, jumped 13 percent and ConAgra, maker of Banquet frozen dinners and Slim Jim meat snacks, rose 9.2 percent. GM climbed 14 percent after saying 7,500 union members signed up for buyouts. Research In Motion Ltd. gained 4.9 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying shares of the maker of BlackBerry phones.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 2.3 percent to 832.86, up 13 percent in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 174.75 points, or 2.3 percent, to a six-week high of 7,924.56. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 3.8 percent, erasing its loss for the year. Stocks extended gains as an auction of seven- year Treasuries eased concern that demand for government debt is dwindling.

Stocks added to an advance yesterday triggered by government data showing unexpected growth in durable-good orders and new-home sales. Those reports tempered reaction to Commerce Department data today that said the economy shrank last quarter at a 6.3 percent annual pace, more than previously estimated while less than the average forecast in a Bloomberg survey.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
3/26/2009 1:34:44 PM