US stocks rose for a third day yesterday, hitting fresh 2009 highs in a broad-based rally following economic data that suggested a stronger-than-anticipated global recovery.<br /><br />Energy and manufacturing companies were among the strongest, benefiting from data indicating improved industrial demand and a falling dollar, which makes American exports more competitive in world markets.<br /><br />Shares of multinational companies gained, including <strong>General Electric</strong>, up 6.3 per cent at $17, while shares of <strong>Exxon Mobil </strong>rose 1.2 per cent to $70.34. Financial companies also were top gainers, with the S&P financial index up 3.4 per cent.<br /><br />US industrial output advanced for a second consecutive month in August, while a government report showed a bigger-than-expected drop in crude inventories last week, indicating higher demand. <br /><br />The economic data added to optimism about a recovery, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession was “very likely” over.<br /><br />“This is a shot in the arm for recovery. This is what we’re looking for,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private bank, said.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average was up 108.30 points, or 1.12 per cent, at 9,791.71. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 16.13 points, or 1.53 per cent, at 1,068.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 30.51 points, or 1.45 per cent, at 2,133.15.<br /><br />The benchmark S&P index is now up 58 per cent since hitting 12-year lows in early March and is up 18 per cent since the start of the year. The dollar, meanwhile, fell near one-year lows against a basket of currencies.<br /><br />Adding to the positive tone was the latest sign that merger and acquisition activity was picking up. <strong>Adobe Systems</strong> said it plans to pay $1.8bn for <strong>Omniture</strong>, whose software analyzes Web traffic. Adobe, the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, is looking to turn around declining sales. <br /><br />Adobe was down 6.4 per cent at $33.35, while Omniture advanced 26.3 per cent to $21.88.<br /><br />Shares of healthcare companies advanced after Democrat Senator Max Baucus said his healthcare overhaul plan can pass the Senate.