U.S. Stocks Gain

U.S. stocks rose on speculation lawmakers will approve a $15 billion bailout to keep automakers afloat in the government’s latest effort to boost the economy.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. gained more than 4 percent as Congress nears a vote on the plan. Newmont Mining Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. climbed more than 5 percent as copper, gold and crude prices increased. Eastman Kodak Co., the 128-year-old photography company, slid 9 percent as the deepening recession forced it to reduce forecasts. Asian shares advanced, while Europe’s regional index was little changed.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.8 percent to 895.71 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 88.17 points, or 1 percent, to 8,779.5. The Russell 2000 Index of small U.S. companies increased 1 percent to 470.44.

European stocks swung between gains and losses as lower earnings forecasts from Electronic Arts Inc. and Praxair Inc. weighed on media and chemical companies, offsetting gains in commodity producers.

Asian stocks advanced for a fourth day and U.S. index futures gained on speculation lawmakers will approve a $15 billion bailout of American auto companies, the latest government effort to bolster the global economy.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 205.10 at 2:36 p.m. in London after earlier climbing as much as 0.5 percent and dropping as much as 1.1 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 3.3 percent to 86.43 as of 7:02 p.m. in Tokyo. The measure has gained 15 percent since Nov. 20, when it reached a five-year low, as governments from Australia to the U.S. announced measures to combat the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 1.3 percent.

MSCI’s Asian index has lost 45 percent this year as Japan, the U.S. and Europe entered simultaneous recessions. Companies on the index are valued at an average 12.4 times estimated profit, about a quarter less than the level at the start of 2008.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 3.2 percent to 8,660.24. Tokyu Land Corp. rallied after the Nikkei newspaper said the government may provide credit to struggling developers. All other benchmark indexes increased apart from New Zealand.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
12/10/2008 7:10:18 AM