* Global stocks surge, spurred by Apple's strong results
* Euro gains, dollar slips after Bernanke, Fed statement
* Bond yields pare some losses, crude oil ends higher
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 25 Global shares jumped on
W ednesday after stellar earnings from Apple Inc bolstered
optimism over corporate earnings and Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke said the central bank was prepared to do more to
aid the U.S. economy if necessary.
The dollar slipped and U.S. stocks extended gains in late
trade after Bernanke said the Fed "would not hesitate" to launch
another round of bond purchases to drive borrowing costs lower,
though he made no suggestion further support was in the works.
Bernanke's news conference following the Fed's latest policy
meeting capped a see-saw session. Earlier, the Fed reiterated
its expectation that interest rates would not rise until late
2014 at the earliest, a statement that briefly drove bond yields
up and led gold to sell off before recovering.
The broad S&P 500 rose more than 1 percent and the Nasdaq
climbed more than 2 percent in its biggest gain so far this
year, lifted by Apple's results.
The Fed raised its forecasts for economic growth and core
inflation, while lowering its expectations for the unemployment
rate for 2012. The forecasts countered data earlier in the day
on capital good orders, which pointed to slower growth this
The euro recouped early losses to trade near session highs,
rising 0.2 percent to $1.3223 in late New York trade.
"People looked at the FOMC statement and saw no mention of
QE3. But in his press conference, Bernanke made it quite clear
that additional asset purchases remain completely on the table.
That may have been a revelation to some of the earlier sellers,"
said William O'Donnell, head of U.S. Treasury strategy for the
Americas at RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. equity markets zoomed at the open on Apple's report
that quarterly profit almost doubled from a year earlier after
markets closed on Monday.
Shares of Apple rose 8.9 percent to $610.00 on a
surge that increased its market capitalization by $46.4 billion.
Apple's forecast-beating results removed a weeks-old market
overhang and lifted optimism in a corporate earnings season that
is already far outstripping expectations. About 75 percent of
the 200 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results so
far have beat expectations, a rate that is above the norm.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 89.16
points, or 0.69 percent, at 13,090.72. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index climbed 18.72 points, or 1.36 percent, at 1,390.69.
The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 68.03 points, or 2.30
percent, at 3,029.63.
Investors shrugged off a Commerce Department report that
showed durable goods orders for March fell 4.2 percent, the
biggest decline in three years and the latest of recent signs of
softness in U.S. economic data.
"This adds to the evidence that momentum in the economy sort
of fell flat in March," said Ellen Zentner, senior U.S.
economist at Nomura Securities in New York.
However, non-defense capital goods shipments excluding
aircraft, used to calculate gross domestic product, were much
stronger than expected in March, she said.
The 2.6 percent increase is "likely to lift estimates,
believe it or not, for first-quarter GDP," Zentner said.
"But... this report implies a fairly weak outlook for business
MSCI's all-country world equity index rose
1.0 percent to 326.46, but its emerging markets index
traded near break-even on a slide in Brazilian equities.
Itau Unibanco Holding, Brazil's biggest private-sector
lender, said it will set aside more money to cover growing
European shares rose for a second day, buoyed by a crop of
strong earnings reports. The FTSE Eurofirst index of
top European shares closed up 1 percent at 1,042.55.
U.S. Treasury debt prices fell. The benchmark 10-year U.S.
Treasury note was down 4/32 in price to yield 1.99
Crude oil futures turned higher late in the session, getting
a lift from U.S. equities despite pressure from a
larger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories and a
report that Iran may consider a halt to its nuclear program.
Brent rose 96 cents to settle at $119.00 a barrel.
U.S. crude for June delivery settled up 57 cents at
$104.12 a barrel.
Gold ended near flat after a volatile session that saw the
precious metal tumble $15 an ounce after the Fed ended its
two-day policy meeting, then quickly recover those losses.
U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down
$1.50 an ounce at $1,642.30.