- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2009

NEW YORK | Investors barreled into stocks Wednesday after an upbeat report on industrial production raised hopes that the economy is strengthening.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108 points to another high for the year as General Electric Co. and International Business Machines Corp. jumped. It was the market’s eighth gain in nine days.

The Federal Reserve’s report that industrial activity surged 0.8 percent in August topped expectations. The Fed also said the improvement in industrial production for July was twice what it had initially reported.

The industrial report and rising commodity prices lifted shares of manufacturing companies like aluminum producer Alcoa Inc.

Other big gains came from financial stocks, which have been building momentum as they push above certain price levels watched by traders. GE, which has a large financial arm and often trades like a bank stock, jumped for a third day. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose more than 2 percent.

The Dow rose 108.30, or 1.1 percent, to 9,791.71, its highest close since Oct. 6, when it ended at 9,956.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 16.13, or 1.5 percent, to 1,068.76, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 30.51, or 1.5 percent, to 2,133.15.

Shares of GE jumped $1, or 6.3 percent, to $17 extending its gains for the week and erasing its losses for the year. IBM, which carries more weight in the Dow because of its higher stock price, rose $2.47, or 2.1 percent, to $121.82.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.48 percent from 3.46 late Tuesday.

The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies rose 12.54, or 2.1 percent, to 617.38.

Overseas, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.6 percent, Germany’s DAX rose 1.3 percent, and France’s CAC-40 surged 1.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.5 percent.

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