All it took was comments by a couple of Federal Reserve higher-ups — who both noted that the Fed might maintain or increase the pace of its bond purchase plan if the economy show signs of weakness — and a little positive U.S. economic data to send stocks higher for a third straight day.
On the data front, the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to 346,000 in the week ended June 22, while the Commerce Department reported Americans’ personal income rose 0.5% in May, and spending increased 0.3%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.77% to finish at 15024.49 as all but two components finished ahead on the day. The Nasdaq finished with a late-day surge, rising 0.76% to close at 3401.86, and the S&P 500 gained 0.62% to close at 1613.20.
Financial and insurance stocks were almost wholly in the black today, including moves in notables such as Hartford Financial Services (HIG, +4.1%), Bank of America (BAC, +2%) and AIG (AIG, +2%).
Solar and LED lighting company GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) — a member of our Real America Index — stormed ahead nearly 14% on an upgrade from Canaccord Genuity, which upped GTAT from “hold” to “buy” and gave shares a $5 price target, or roughly 38% higher than Wednesday’s closing price.
Lastly, in earnings news, ConAgra (CAG) shares rose more than 5% after announcing it swung to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter. KB Home (KBH) slid about 1% despite narrowing its Q2 loss from 31 cents per share a year ago to 4 cents per share. And Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) and Winnebago (WGO) moved marginally amid earnings that were in line with analyst estimates.
- KIOR Inc. (KIOR): Up 18.4% (91 cents) to $5.85.
- Ruckus Wireless (RKUS): Up 11.1% ($1.30) to $13.04.
- Canadian Solar (CSIQ): Up 9.6% (97 cents) to $11.07.
- National Bank of Greece (NBG): Down 23% (94 cents) to $3.14.
- Select Income REIT (SIR): Down 6.9% ($2.06) to $27.69.
- Linn Energy (LINE): Down 4% ($1.37) to $33.13.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.