After muddling along all day, investors led the charge to a broad-based rally when the Federal Reserve announced another round of quantitative easing, with a plan to purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month without a specific end date, and said low interest rates are warranted through at least 2015.
The Dow was listing higher until shortly after the 12:30 p.m. announcement, then got an immediate jolt afterward, eventually finishing up 200 points, or 1.55%, to finish at 13,539. The S&P 500 gained 1.63% to end at 1,460, while the Nasdaq ended up 1.33% at 3,155. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones reached their highest levels since 2007, and the Nasdaq hit highs not seen since November 2000.
The rally carried far and wide among the Dow 30, led by financial stocks — Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) continued a recent run with a 4% surge, while American Express (NYSE:AXP) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) each churned out 3%-plus gains. JPM now has recovered all its lost ground since the “London Whale” trading debacle.
Housing stocks saw a modest rally on the news, too, as shares of Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV) and PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) rallied over 3%, while Lennar (NYSE:LEN) and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) each earned a respectable 2%.
Helped by not only Uncle Ben, but iPhone momentum, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) touched another historic high at $685.50 before finishing at just over $680 per share. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) also continued a recent rally, gaining 2% after introducing a new search feature called a “Bacon Number” that can determine the association between actresses and actors.
Finally, Pier 1 Imports‘ (NYSE:PIR) was heading toward a down day despite a strong Q2 earnings report, but rode the broader rally and continued its multi-year turnaround from the brink. Pier 1 shares had fallen to 11 cents per share in 2009 … today, PIR touched $20 before resting up less than 1% to $19.71.
- Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (NYSE:SID): Up 11% (64 cents) to $6.42.
- Zillow (NASDAQ:Z): Up 8.5% ($3.47) to $44.27.
- Leapfrog (NYSE:LF): Up 7.2% (62 cents) to $9.21.
- O’Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY): Down 4.8% ($4.11) to $81.35.
- Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA): Down 3.6% (11 cents) to $2.96.
- Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW): Down 2.9% (25 cents) to $8.50.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL.