- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Stocks yesterday rose the most in two weeks as better-than-forecast profits from Intel, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo eased concern that the slowing economy is wiping out profits.

Intel posted its best gain since January after the chip maker said a weakening economy hasn’t hurt sales. JPMorgan, the third-biggest U.S. bank, advanced after Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the credit-market crisis is nearing an end.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 30.28, or 2.3 percent, to 1,364.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 256.8, or 2.1 percent, to 12,619.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 64.07, or 2.8 percent, to 2,350.11. The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies gained 3.1 percent to 713.39.

“You’re seeing broad participation, which is a good thing,” said Richard Campagna of Provident Investment Counsel in Pasadena, Calif., which manages $3 billion. “If the market’s going to rally, you need to broaden out the leadership, which is what you’re seeing today.”

“The numbers from financial companies are pretty terrible, but not as terrible as expected,” said Jennifer Ellison of Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough in San Francisco. “The market is taking that positively. It’s surprising.”

The S&P; 500 posted its first back-to-back gains in more than a week. Stocks gained even after government reports showed housing starts and building permits fell more than forecast last month and the Federal Reserve said economic growth has weakened because of “anemic” real estate markets and a slowdown in consumer spending.

Intel climbed $1.22, or 5.8 percent, to $22.13 and led semiconductor companies in the S&P; 500 to a 4.7 percent gain, the biggest in four years. Intel’s sales rose 9.3 percent to $9.67 billion, topping analyst estimates. Chief Executive Paul Otellini said late Tuesday there were no signs of economic weakness hurting sales in the United States or Europe.

“Companies and individuals will keep demanding those microprocessors,” said Michael Shinnick of 1st Source Bank in South Bend, Ind. “The demand now is much more global” than during the slowdown in 2001.

Chip-equipment maker KLA-Tencor rose $3.36, or 8.4 percent, to $43.23.

Coca-Cola Co. climbed 21 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $61.15. The company reported first-quarter profit that rose more than estimated on a declining U.S. dollar and faster-growing soda sales in Mexico.

The dollar fell to a record low against the euro yesterday as European inflation accelerated last month, reducing chances the European Central Bank will follow the Federal Reserve in cutting interest rates.

IBM rose 2.8 percent in after-hours trading to $123.89 . The world’s biggest computer-services company posted results that topped estimates after winning more orders overseas, where it gets almost two-thirds of its revenue.

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