Investor optimism drives shares on Wall St higher

US stocks rose yesterday as solid earnings and a flurry of merger activity underpinned a steady upward trend that reinforced investor optimism for the coming year.

Financials led the way higher, continuing their December rally after underperforming the broader market for much of the year. The KBW bank index 1.9 per cent.

Northern Trust, which has $657bn in assets under management, recently reduced its cash allocation and increased investments in US large cap equities and fixed income.

Adobe Systems jumped six per cent to $30.93 after it gave an upbeat forecast, while coal miner Massey Energy rose on expectations the company was lining up potential buyers. Massey gained 1.2 per cent to $52.45.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 55.03 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 11,533.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 7.52 points, or 0.60 per cent, to 1,254.60 –?marking a fresh two-year high. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 18.05 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,667.61.