- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

NEW YORK | The stock market resumed its advance Wednesday as a weak dollar and improvements in China’s factories boosted hopes for a recovery in the economy.

A weaker dollar lifted gold and oil prices after Federal Reserve officials signaled that borrowing rates would remain low. The dollar again tugged at stocks, as it has for months. The market bounded higher in early trading but came off its highest levels as the dollar bounced off a 15-month low.

Industrial production rose in China, which fanned expectations that rising exports signaled a broader global recovery is gaining steam.

A jump in orders at luxury builder Toll Brothers Inc. pushed homebuilder stocks to steep gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44 points in light trading after being up as much as 95 points and hitting a 13-month high. The Dow posted its sixth straight gain.

Trading was light because of the Veterans Day holiday, but volume has been weak for most of the month.

The early drop in the dollar came after several Fed officials said late Tuesday that the economic recovery is likely to be weak. Investors took that as another sign that policymakers will hold interest rates low to help resuscitate growth. The central bank indicated after a policy meeting last week that they wouldn’t raise rates until the economy was on firm footing.

The Dow rose 44.29, or 0.4 percent, to 10,291.26. The Dow rose as high as 10,341.97, its best level since Oct. 3, 2008.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.50, or 0.5 percent, to 1,098.51 and topped 1,100 for the first time since last year. It hit a 13-month high of 1,105.37 - also its best level since Oct. 3 last year.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 15.82, or 0.7 percent, to 2,166.90.

The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies rose 5.78, or 1 percent, to 592.71.

Bond markets were closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

Macy’s Inc.’s fell after it did not increase its full-year earnings and sales forecasts as much as analysts had hoped. The stock fell $1.57, or 8.1 percent, to $17.86.

Reports from retailers are important because investors are worried that the economy won’t be able to sustain its recovery if consumers don’t step up their spending.

Investors will be looking for signals about the economy Thursday when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as well as the department store chains Kohl’s Corp. and Nordstrom Inc. post quarterly numbers.

Walt Disney Co. is also slated to report.

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