Stocks surge on Summers' withdrawal from Fed consideration
Wall Street was happy to see Larry Summers go.
Stocks rose on Monday after Summers, who had been the leading candidate to replace Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, withdrew his name from consideration.
Summers, a former Treasury secretary, was viewed as being more likely to rein in the government's huge stimulus program, which has kept interest rates low and boosted corporate profits.
Stocks were helped by news that factory output rose 0.7 percent in August, the most in eight months.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 118.72 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 15,494.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.61 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,697.60. The Nasdaq composite fell 4.34 points, a fraction of a percent, to 3,717.85, pulled down by a loss in Apple.
Nine of 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by industrial stocks. Only technology stocks declined.
At its highest point in late morning trading, the S&P 500 was within five points of its previous record close of 1,709.67, set on Aug. 2.
That worried Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial.
McMillan said there are risks that investors don't seem to be accounting for in the prices they're paying. The Syria situation might not be resolved as easily as some are assuming. Europe's debt crisis isn't over. Investors seem to believe corporate profits will keep growing as fast as they have been, even though cheap debt refinancing has driven much of that growth. And there's another debate upcoming in Washington about the U.S. debt ceiling.
“The last time we had a real problem with it, it did result in a significant market correction,” McMillan said.
Linda Duessel, market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, said it's just as likely that some of those issues will turn out in ways that don't hurt stocks. And even if one of those issues causes stocks to decline, “that could be the correction that any us of who have cash on the sidelines are waiting for,” she said.
The Fed has been buying $85 billion per month in bonds, which has had the effect of keeping interest rates low and reduced borrowing expenses for companies.
The Fed has been saying for months that it will slow that stimulus once there's a better outlook for jobs. The question has been how soon, and how much. The consensus with Summers was, sooner, and more. That's why stocks rose once investors found out he won't be the next Fed chief.
The president is expected to nominate Ben Bernanke's successor as early as this month. The new front-runner is Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chair.
The Fed is expected to take its first step toward reducing that stimulus in a two-day policy meeting that ends Wednesday. Many economists think it will trim $10 billion from its monthly bond purchases.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined more than a tenth of a percent earlier in the day, but regained most of that, and finished at 2.87 percent, down from 2.88 percent late Friday. The dollar fell against the yen and the euro.
Among companies making big moves:
— Homebuilders rose as investors were encouraged by a decline in long-term interest rates. The biggest gainer in percentage terms was PulteGroup, up 62 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $17.14.
— Boise rose $2.60, or 26 percent, to $12.56 after news that Packaging Corp. of America is buying it for $1.27 billion. Packaging Corp. rose $5.88, or almost 11 percent, to $60.43.
— Apple continued to slide, down $14.78, or 3.2 percent, to $450.10. Apple has fallen 11 percent since announcing its new iPhone lineup last week. Investors believe the new phones won't bring in as much overseas revenue as they had previously hoped.
Trading in stock options was halted for less than an hour Monday afternoon because of a problem with their price-reporting system.
Summers' withdrawal helped stocks overseas, too. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 percent. Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent, and the CAC-40 in France was 0.9 percent higher.
Oil traders were monitoring Syria developments. The recent diplomatic drive, which has caused the prospect of a U.S.-led attack on Syria to dissipate, has pushed oil prices lower. The benchmark New York price of crude fell $1.62 to $106.59 a barrel.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans
- Oil, gas industry boom leads to expansion of laws in Pennsylvania
- Bond experts fear inevitable sell-off
- Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
- Canadian company wins bid for casino
- New models, China sales key to GM’s future, Barra tells investors
- Truck deals give auto sales a lift
- Google Pittsburgh instrumental in fight against hackers, co-directors say
- Roundup: Pittsburgh Corning plan confirmed; II-VI reorganizes segments; more
- Stocks mixed, as health-care slumps