U.S. Stocks Gyrate

U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses as expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to the lowest level since 2004 offset a second straight decline in orders for durable goods excluding transportation.

Schlumberger Ltd. and Chevron Corp. led gains in 36 of 40 energy companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index on prospects that lower borrowing costs will stoke demand. Johnson & Johnson declined 3.7 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the largest health-care products company on concern it faces competition from generic drugs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained above 9,000 for a second day after rallying 889 points yesterday, the second-biggest point rally in its history.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 8.94 points, or less than 1 percent, to 931.57 at 11:14 a.m. in New York. The Dow decreased 42.61 points, or 0.5 percent, to 9,022.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 16.02, or 1 percent, to 1,633.45. About the same number of stocks rose as fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Canadian stocks rose for a second day, led by energy companies, as the price of crude oil jumped more than $4 a barrel and Nexen Inc. and Suncor Energy Inc. posted higher third-quarter profits. The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index rose 1.3 percent to 9,271.86 at 9:58 a.m. in Toronto, building on yesterday's 7.2 percent gain.

Brazilian stocks rose to the highest in a week on surging commodity prices and speculation the central bank may halt six months of interest-rate increases as the government prepares measures to help the nation's homebuilders. The Bovespa index gained for a second day, rising 629.48, or 1.9 percent, to 34,016.13 at 10:42 a.m. New York time.

Stocks gained in Europe and Asia for a second day as falling credit costs spurred a rally in financial shares, while higher commodity prices pushed up oil and metals producers.

U.K. stocks jumped, advancing for a second day, led by banks and commodity producers on speculation central banks will cut interest rates. The FTSE 100 Index gained 287.94, or 7.3 percent, to 4,214.32 at 3:24 p.m. in London, as all but six stocks advanced, trimming its decline for the month to 14 percent. The FTSE All- Share Index added 67 percent, while Ireland's ISEQ Index increased 7.4 percent.

Most German stocks advanced as investors speculated central banks may lower borrowing costs to spur economic growth, while a slump in Volkswagen AG weighed on the benchmark DAX Index. The benchmark DAX Index fell 42.09, or 0.9 percent, to 4,781.36 as of 3:53 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Japan's stocks surged a second day as speculation the Bank of Japan will cut rates spurred the yen's steepest drop in three decades, boosting earnings prospects for makers of cars and electronics. The Nikkei climbed 589.98, or 7.7 percent, to close at 8,211.90 in Tokyo, building on yesterday's 6.4 percent advance.

Australian stocks climbed, lifting the index from a four-year low, on speculation the global credit crunch will ease from a cut in U.S. interest rates later today, and after metal prices climbed for the second day. The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 51 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,845.60 at the close in Sydney, after a five-day slump dragged it to its lowest since Nov. 1, 2004.

China's stocks fell, driving the benchmark index lower, as concern profits will decline with a slowing economy overshadowed speculation the government will add measures to bolster equities. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated stocks traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, lost 47.60, or 2.8 percent, to 1,658.22 at the close, giving up a 1.5 percent gain.

India's Sensitive Index rose for a second day. Hindalco Industries Ltd., India's largest non-ferrous metals producer, surged 18 percent, its biggest advance in more than 16 years, after some investors judged the recent declines excessive.The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, added 36.43, or 0.4 percent, to 9,044.51, extending yesterday's 5.9 percent gain.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
10/29/2008 9:19:46 AM