- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) A succession of better-than-expected earnings reports sent stocks climbing for a second day yesterday as investors grew more convinced that the worst is over for the economy and Wall Street. A surge in consumer confidence fed the buying momentum and allowed the market to overcome several waves of profit-taking.
   
   Upbeat profit reports again flowed in from big companies, this time, Northrop Grumman, DuPont and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
   
   The rise in consumer sentiment is a “good reason for people to be enthusiastic,” said Brian Bruce, director of global investments at PanAgora Asset Management in Boston.
   
   The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 31.38, or 0.4 percent, at 8,502.99, having climbed 165.26.
   
   The broader market also advanced. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.06, or 0.6 percent, to 1,471.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 3.00, or 0.3 percent, to close at 917.84.
   
   Consumer confidence rose sharply in April as war worries evaporated because of the swift outcome in Iraq. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81.0 from a revised 61.4 in March and much better than the reading of 70 that analysts predicted.
   
   During the past few weeks, companies have reported surprisingly strong profits and economic readings have turned more positive, prompting investors to buy stocks with renewed confidence.

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