Wall St boosted by FedEx’s bullish view

US stocks, bucking a trend of late-day selloffs, ended higher yesterday as economic bellwether FedEx offered a bullish profit outlook that augured well for broad growth.

Stocks that performed well in 2010 were among yesterday’s biggest gainers as investors sought to boost returns by the year’s end. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by more than two to one on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

Package shipper FedEx raised its full-year outlook, though its quarterly profit and revenue missed expectations. Shares rose two per cent to $94.22 while larger rival United Parcel Services gained 2.1 per cent to $73.76 and the Dow Jones Transportation Average gained 1.3 per cent. “The fact that FedEx missed its earnings is overshadowed by its very strong outlook, which is a good indicator that we’re looking for good economic times ahead,” said Kimberly Foss, president at the Sacramento, California-based Empyrion Wealth Management, which has more than $200m in assets under management.

Visa and MasterCard tumbled on heavy volume after the Federal Reserve issued a proposal that would force banks and card networks to slash the fees they charge retailers on debit cards. Visa sank 13 per cent to $67.19 while MasterCard slumped 10 per cent to $223.49.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 41.78 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 11,499.25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 7.64 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 1,242.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 20.09 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 2,637.31.

Stocks gained momentum after a slow start to the day, with big gainers for the year boosting the Nasdaq.

Intuit, known for its tax-filing software, gained three per cent to $49.35 after rising about 60 per cent for the year.

Some shares raised hopes consumers will be less frugal over the holiday shopping season. Amazon.com rose 1.4 per cent to $178.10 and its stock was up 32 per cent for the year. After the closing bell, Oracle reported a surge in new software sales in its second quarter, lifting its shares 3.2 per cent to $31.24. Starbucks rose 2.3 per cent to $32.59 after Goldman Sachs gave the coffee chain a “conviction buy” rating.