US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Russell 2000 hits highest since May 2011

NEW YORK, Sept 14 Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:49pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Small- and mid-capitalization stocks jumped o n F riday as the Federal Reserve's move to boost the economy helped keep investor optimism high, with the Russell 2000 index hitting its highest intraday level since May 2011.

Among the biggest gainers, shares of Oshkosh Corp rose 8.2 percent to $29.76 as the specialty truck maker forecast that profit will rise up to 30 percent every year over the next three years as profit margins improve and international sales make up more than one-quarter of total revenue.

Coal and steel shares rose for a second day on the Fed news. Shares of Arch Coal gained 7 percent to $7.91, while shares of Alpha Natural Resources were up 3.9 percent at $8.55.

The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Thursday it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed debt per month until the outlook for jobs improves substantially and as long as inflation remains contained.

The S&P MidCap 400 index gained 1.1 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index rose 0.9 percent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 was up 0.4 percent.

Analogic Corp shares were up 16.3 percent at $80.44 after the imaging equipment maker reported a quarterly profit above market expectations, helped by a jump in sales at its ultrasound and security technology businesses.

Officemax Inc shares were up 14.6 percent at $8.15 after the company confirmed that it finalized an agreement to extinguish non-recourse Lehman-backed timber notes liability.

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