Banking boost cheers up investors on Wall Street

BANK and technology shares lifted Wall Street yesterday on hopes a revival in business demand will boost corporate profits.

Banks’ shares rallied to their highest in 16 months, adding to recent momentum, amid bets an improving economy will stoke loan demand.

“The natural conclusion investors are making is, if the economy is turning, financials are poised to do well," said Angel Mata, managing director of listed equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore.

The Nasdaq rallied for a fifth straight day, helped by data showing US wholesale inventories fell unexpectedly in January and sales hit their highest in more than a year.

“There’s demand out there and [businesses] are going to have to build up those inventories,” Mata said.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 2.95 points, or 0.03 per cent, to end at 10,567.33. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.16 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 1,145.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 18.27 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 2,358.95.