Global Stocks Advance

Global stocks rallied, driving the benchmark index of investor anxiety to a six-month low, as better-than-estimated earnings at Wells Fargo & Co. and speculation American banks will pass government stress tests boosted confidence in the financial system., Bloomberg 4/9/2009 1:53:54 PM

Wells Fargo, the second-largest U.S. lender, jumped 32 percent. Bank of America Corp. climbed 35 percent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. added 19 percent on a New York Times report that all 19 banks examined by the government will pass a review to determine their viability should the recession deepen. Barclays Plc surged 12 percent in London after agreeing to sell its iShares unit. The VIX, as Wall Street’s stock market fear gauge” is known, fell to its lowest level since September.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 3.8 percent to a two- month high of 856.56 and capped a fifth straight weekly gain, the longest stretch since the bear market started in October 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 246.27, or 3.1 percent, to 8,083.38. Eleven stocks gained for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks also rallied after the government reported that initial jobless claims in the U.S. decreased more than economists estimated last week and the trade deficit unexpectedly shrank 28 percent, the most since 1996, as imports decreased. The S&P 500 climbed 1.7 percent in the holiday- shortened week, while the Dow added 0.8 percent.

Financial markets will be closed tomorrow to mark the Good Friday holiday.

Benchmark stock gauges in Germany and Hong Kong added 3 percent as the MSCI World Index of 23 developed nations increased 3 percent, the most in a week.