Cheer returns to Wall St as stocks surge

US stocks rose yesterday, with the Dow swinging nearly 200 points from its session low to high and the S&P 500 recovering after hitting a key technical level in volatile trading a day before the release of the US jobs report.

Market volatility has increased recently and the S&P 500 has lost 3 per cent since Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments two weeks ago that the central bank may decide to reduce stimulus in the next few policy meetings if data shows the economy is improving. The move follows a rally for much of this year, largely on the Fed’s continued stimulus actions.

Around midday, the S&P 500 briefly slipped below its 50-day moving average of 1,604 – the first time the benchmark has dropped below that technical level since 18 April. By mid-afternoon, the S&P reversed course and ended the day up 0.9 per cent. The session’s best performers included financials and health care, with each of those S&P sector indexes ending up 1.4 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 80.03 points, or 0.53 per cent, to close at 15,040.62. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 13.66 points, or 0.85 per cent, to finish at 1,622.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 22.58 points, or 0.66 per cent, to end at 3,424.05.

American Express was among the Dow’s top gainers, rising 2 per cent to $76.24. Retail stocks rose, with major US chains reporting monthly sales that were largely in line with expectations. Shares of Costco Wholesale rose 1.8 per cent to $111.09, while the S&P retail index shot up 1.2 per cent.