Apple jumps as Dow Jones rallies

US stocks climbed more than 2 per cent yesterday as data showing the biggest monthly jump in consumer confidence in six years lifted hopes of an economic rebound, and a brokerage upgrade of <strong>Apple</strong> drove sharp gains on the Nasdaq.<br /><br />Apple&rsquo;s shares closed nearly 7 per cent higher after Morgan Stanley said the iPhone will drive strong earnings growth over the next two years and raised its price target on the stock.<br /><br />An index of US consumer confidence surged in May, strongly topping expectations as it registered the biggest monthly jump since April 2003, according to the Conference Board, an industry group.<br /><br />Consumer discretionary shares were among the top gainers on the Dow and S&amp;P 500, with <strong>McDonalds</strong> up 3.1 per cent, retailer <strong>Macy&rsquo;s</strong> up 5.9 per cent and the S&amp;P consumer discretionary index up 3.8 per cent.<br /><br />&ldquo;Today the market is celebrating the return of some sign of consumer confidence,&rdquo; said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was so strong, even the dismal housing numbers couldn&rsquo;t bring the market down,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />The news influenced the broad market, but consumer discretionary, restaurants and even Apple shares received the biggest boost, he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all the same script,&rdquo; Kenny said.<br /><br />Other data yesterday showed prices of single-family homes fell in March from a year earlier. The pace of decline, however, slowed for a second consecutive month.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average&nbsp; rose 196.17 points, or 2.37 per cent, to finish at 8,473.49. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index was up 23.33 points, or 2.63 per cent, at 910.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 58.42 points, or 3.45 per cent, at 1,750.43.<br /><br />Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of the US economy. The US confidence data followed similarly rosy consumer reports in Germany and France.<br /><br />The data also seemed to outweigh geopolitical concerns over North Korea&rsquo;s latest nuclear and missile tests, which pressured stocks at the open.<br /><br />The market&rsquo;s gains came after four straight days of losses