Wall Street stormed back into stocks and commodities like frenzied bargain hunters yesterday to kick off 2012 with a big bang for their bucks.
Equities bounced off of their-end-of 2011 levels on upbeat economic data issued before markets opened. Traders sent the Dow Jones industrial average surging by 256 points in the opening minutes.
The Dow held most of its gains, to close at 12,397.38, its highest level since July, for a gain of 1.47 percent , or 179.82.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed to a four-month high, adding 1.55 percent to 1,277.06, or 19.46. The Nasdaq scored a 1.67 percent jump to 2,648.72, up 43.57.
Most of the session’s optimism came from data in the Institute of Supply Management index for December showing the strongest signs in months of new business growth and more jobs.
“New orders and production both hit eight-month highs, and employment was at a six-month high,” said economist Jonathan Basile at Credit Suisse.
Another big plus, he said, is that prices for materials such as plastics and natural gas showed the “first back-to-back contractions since the recession. This is a green flag for near-term demand.
“Customer inventories fell for the second-largest drop on record in the index,” Basile said.
Separately, another report said that small businesses are starting to shed their caution of the last two years, and plan to boost hiring in 2012.
About 50 percent of small businesses plan to add jobs in 2012, and 56 percent intend to hike wages for all or some workers, said a survey by SurePayroll’s Small Business Scorecard, which tracks small business payrolls.
Signs of more global business activity sent speculators into oil, which jumped 4.3 percent here, to $102.96 a barrel, and into copper, which rose 2.7 percent.
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite