U.S. Stocks Rally

U.S. stocks rallied and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed to a five-week high after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low and said it will employ “all available tools” to revive the economy.

Citigroup Inc. jumped 11 percent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. climbed 13 percent after the central bank said it stands ready to expand” purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rallied 14 percent after its first quarterly loss as a public company was smaller than some analysts’ estimates. Boeing Co. and Intel Corp. jumped more than 7.2 percent as all 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 increased more than 2.2 percent after the Fed’s announcement.

The S&P 500 added 5.1 percent to 913.16. The advance put the benchmark index above its average level during the past 50 days for the first time since September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 359.61 points, or 4.2 percent, to 8,924.14. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies increased 6.7 percent.

European stocks rose for the first time in four days as speculation the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates to the lowest level on record overshadowed concern the recession will curb profits at metals companies.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.8 percent to 199.01 in London. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has indicated he may take new steps to prevent the worst recession in a quarter century from turning into a depression.

National benchmark indexes rose in 13 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.7 percent. Germany’s DAX climbed 1.6 percent, while France’s CAC 40 gained 2.1 percent.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/16/2008 1:14:26 PM