- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NEW YORK | A rebound in commodities drew investors back into the stock market and helped push stocks to new highs for 2009.

Major stock indicators rebounded Tuesday from a drop the day earlier to end at their highest levels in 11 months. The Dow Jones industrials rose 51 points after falling 41 on Monday.

After soaring 50.1 percent since hitting a 12-year low in early March, the Dow stands 170 points below the 10,000 mark — a level the average first crossed in March 1999 and hasn’t been above since October.

In an about-face, the dollar weakened against other major currencies. That helped lift commodities like oil and gold as well as energy and material stocks. Financial stocks also rose sharply.

The gains came as the Federal Reserve began a two-day meeting on interest rates. Investors are hoping the central bank will provide a clearer indication of when it might raise rates.

The Fed is widely expected to keep rates at their record low of near zero for the time being. Rock-bottom interest rates have helped fuel the market’s nearly seven-month-old rally, making cash plentiful and cheap and encouraging investors to buy up riskier assets.

The market appears to be following a well-established pattern in which brief dips are met with more buying as investors fear missing a continued rally.

“Reluctantly, investors are continually being dragged into a market that is finding a path of least resistance to the upside,” said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51.01, or 0.5 percent, to 9,829.87, its highest close since Oct. 6, when it finished at 9,956.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 7.00, or 0.7 percent, to 1,071.66, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.26, or 0.4 percent, to 2,146.30. Both indexes are at 11-month highs.

Gold and silver prices rose after three days of drops, while oil prices gained $1.84 to settle at $71.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Bond prices rose, pushing yields down. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.45 percent from 3.49 percent late Monday.

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