Economic surge stems market's plunge
BY MEG RICHARDS
NEW YORK - A solid reading on the economy gave investors
some badly needed reassurance Thursday, propelling the Dow Jones
industrials up 170 points and the Nasdaq composite index up 3
percent. But analysts were divided over whether the rally signaled
an end to Wall Street's correction or was simply fueled by bargain-hunting.
The market has been in a corrective phase for about
nine weeks, weighed down by a number of factors, from concerns
over high stock valuations to fears about global terrorism. While
it was not clear whether the advance would be sustained, the worst
is probably over, said Alfred Goldman, chief market strategist
with A.G. Edwards Inc. in St. Louis.
"We think the correction has probably done
its dastardly deed and the primary trend remains up," Goldman
said. "The outlook for the economy remains positive, the
forecasts for corporate earnings are up.... I would advise people
who are on the sidelines to do some selective buying."
The Dow rose 170.59, or 1.7 percent, to 10,218.82,
after declining more than 250 points over the last five sessions.
The broader gauges were also markedly higher. The
Nasdaq soared 57.69 to 1,967.17. The Standard & Poor's 500
index gained 17.86 to 1,109.19. I
Investors got some solace before the market opened
when the Commerce Department confirmed estimates that the economy
grew at a solid 4.1 percent annual rate during the last quarter
of 2003. The gross domestic product is considered the most important
barometer of the economy's health.
Wall Street forecasts call for 4.5 percent GDP growth
through the first half of this year, as tax incentives motivate
consumer and business spending. But that level of growth may not
be sustainable if the labor market doesn't improve dramatically.
California Economic Forecast
Economy Grows at Solid 4.1 Percent Pace
Economy outpaces sluggish job market
Fed Expected to Keep Interest Rates Low
Gasoline Prices Threatening Retail Sales
Greenspan defends free trade, productivity
High-end consumers are spending big
Inflation Dents Treasury Prices
NY Fed Warns of Potential Deficit Fallout
Treasury's Snow: US job count missing self-employed
U.S.: Economy Is Growing at Solid Rate
US existing home sales rose in February
U.S. economy ends '03 on strong note
Weekly US jobless claims rise slightly to 339,000