U.S. Stocks Advance


U.S. stocks gained, extending the second straight weekly advance, as President George W. Bush’s rescue plan for carmakers assuaged concern that a collapse of the industry would threaten millions of jobs.

General Motors Corp. rallied 18 percent as Bush announced $13.4 billion in emergency loans for the largest U.S. automaker and rival Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co. climbed as much as 14 percent, while Lear Corp., the world’s second-biggest maker of automotive seats, jumped as much as 23 percent. All 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose, extending the benchmark gauge’s weekly gain to more than 2.4 percent.

The S&P 500 added 1.8 percent to 900.84 at 10:16 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 132.62 points, or 1.5 percent, to 8,737.61. The Russell 2000 Index of small U.S. companies climbed 3.2 percent.

The S&P 500 tumbled yesterday as a deteriorating credit outlook for General Electric Co. spurred concern the financial crisis is worsening. The gauge has posted its biggest drop since the Great Depression this year as credit losses and writedowns at the world’s largest banks surpassed $1 trillion and the U.S., Europe, and Japan entered the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.

European stocks rebounded as President George W. Bush’s rescue plan for carmakers overshadowed a slump in commodity producers.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Unilever Plc gained more than 1 percent, leading a rally among companies that make more than one third of their sales in the Americas. BP Plc, Europe’s second- largest oil company by market value, and Total SA sank as crude headed for its second-biggest weekly drop in more than five years. UBS AG led banks lower as Standard & Poor’s cut ratings and changed outlooks for 12 U.S. and European financial institutions.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.3 percent to 197.88 at 3:49 p.m. in London, trimming this week’s decline to 0.3 percent. More than half of the stocks in the measure retreated. The gauge is still down 46 percent in 2008 as credit losses and writedowns at the world’s largest banks surpassed $1 trillion and the U.S., Europe and Japan entered the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.

Asian stocks fell, led by commodities producers, as the deepening global recession drove crude oil below $36 a barrel and metal prices to the lowest in more than four years.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, sank 3.5 percent in Sydney, and Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, lost 4.9 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average swung between gains and losses before closing lower after the central bank cut interest rates. Samsung Electronics Co. gained 4.6 percent as a benchmark gauge of memory prices climbed for the first time since June.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.6 percent to 89.95 as of 7.25 p.m. in Tokyo. About five stocks fell for every four that gained. The gauge has climbed 6.5 percent this week, the most in a month, and risen 8.7 percent in December, putting it on course for its first monthly advance since April.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/19/2008 8:12:45 AM