Markets moved ahead gingerly in early Wednesday trading until the Federal Reserve released its “Beige Book” report suggesting that economic growth was moving at a modest pace with improvements across all of its districts.
At which point markets soared ahead.
The Nasdaq led the charge ahead, rising 1.01% to 3649.04, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.81% to 1653.08. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a gain of 0.65% to 14,930.87.
Automakers rallied after posting strong August sales figures, with the industry’s strongest results in nearly six years. General Motors (GM, +5%), Ford (F, +3.5%), Honda (HMC, +1.6%) and Toyota (TM, +1.3%) all headed higher.
Network communications provider Ciena (CIEN) jumped more than 14% after announcing beats on the top and bottom lines, as well as an upbeat view for the rest of the year. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Juniper Networks (JNPR) each headed roughly 6% higher in sympathy.
Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) was bid up more than 2% as investors grow more eager for its Sept. 10 event, where it’s expected to unveil its new iPhone lines.
JCPenney (JCP) surged more than 6% as hedge funds continue to pile into the stock. Kyle Bass’ Hayman Capital and Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital have taken respective stakes of 5.2% and 9.1% in the struggling retailer. Glenview Capital now represents JCP’s largest shareholder.
Specialty women’s apparel retailer Francesca’s (FRAN) was crushed, falling more than 25% after announcing both a miss on the top and bottom lines for its second quarter, and guiding lower for the remained of the year.
Lastly, LinkedIn (LNKD) fell over nearly 3% after announcing a secondary offering in which it would sell $1 billion worth of stock.
- JA Solar (JASO): Up 15.9% ($1.19) to $8.67.
- E-Trade (ETFC): Up 8.1% ($1.17) to $15.71.
- Micron Technology (MU): Up 5.3% (74 cents) to $14.75.
- Vivus (VVUS): Down 7.8% ($1) to $11.90.
- Guidewire Software (GWRE): Down 7.3% ($3.41) to $43.07. (Read more)
- SAIC (SAI): Down 4.9% (74 cents) to $14.41.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long AAPL.