Stocks rose for the third session today as oil prices fell sharply and after the government reported that the economy grew last quarter...
NEW YORK — Stocks rose for the third session today as oil prices fell sharply and after the government reported that the economy grew last quarter at a faster pace than previously estimated.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.19 to 12,646.22. The Dow was up nearly 133 points at its high of the session.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, added 13 cents to close at $28.31 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, slipped 2 cents to $82.11.
Broader stock indicators also rose after trading mixed early in the session. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 7.42 to 1,398.26, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 21.62 to 2,508.32.
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A rising dollar helped push crude oil prices down by more than $4 a barrel, the biggest single-session drop since March.
Investors have been concerned recently that rising oil and gasoline prices would dent consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The revised reading of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) helped ease some concerns about a recession. The Commerce Department said the economy grew at an annual rate of 0.9 percent — above the department’s earlier estimate of 0.6 percent and above the fourth-quarter increase of 0.6 percent.
“The GDP news was pretty good. From our perspective, we’re not going to see a negative quarter of GDP, so earnings are going to improve,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist for Wachovia Securities.
Meanwhile, MasterCard said consumers are continuing to reach into their wallets for plastic. The company’s shares jumped to a fresh high after the credit-card processor said it still expects to see double-digit growth in net revenue this year. While it said gross dollar growth in the U.S. is slowing, purchasing is increasing in other parts of the world. Avoiding a big falloff in consumer spending and strength elsewhere in the world could help the U.S. economy avoid a serious downturn, some economists have reasoned.