* Apple, Exxon Mobil at new multi-year highs
* S&P index just 6 percent away from all-time closing high
* Shares of Staples up on possible buyout offers
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.89 pct
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Sept 14 U.S. stocks rose for a fourth
straight session on Friday to close out the week at nearly
five-year highs after the Federal Reserve took bold action to
spur the economy, a move that could keep equities buoyed in the
Shares of Apple Inc, the largest U.S. company by
market value, ended at an all-time peak, and Exxon Mobil
, the second biggest, hit a four-year high.
Equities are in a run-up that has pushed the S&P 500 to end
higher for four consecutive months. The extended advance has
come mainily from actions by Europe's and the United States'
central banks to keep interest rates low and stimulate their
The Fed said Thursday that it would keep up its aggressive
bond-buying until unemployment falls. Chairman Ben Bernanke said
he wanted to see a convincing improvement in the economy that
could deliver sustainable job creation.
Bernanke's comments are "going to create an artificial floor
on the market, meaning that we could see higher prices over
time," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners
in Chicago. "Any correction that we get will be no more than a
few percentage points."
The Dow and the S&P 500 both closed at their highest levels
since December 2007, while the Nasdaq ended at the highest since
November 2000. The small-cap Russell 2000 index closed at
the highest since April 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 53.51
points, or 0.40 percent, to 13,593.37. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index closed up 5.78 points, or 0.40 percent, to
1,465.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 28.12
points, or 0.89 percent, to 3,183.95.
For the week, the Dow rose 2.2 percent, the S&P climbed 1.9
percent and the Nasdaq added 1.5 percent.
The S&P is now just 6 percent below its all-time closing
high of 1,565.15 despite a relatively weak economy and economic
risks around the world.
The Fed's balance sheet could expand by 11 to 12 percent by
the end of the year, monetary accommodation that could
"translate into a move up in the S&P 500 stock index to the
1,505 area," Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells
Fargo Funds Management, LLC in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said,
Energy and material stocks led the gains as the Fed's move
boosted commodity prices. Miner Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold
Inc rose 2.03 percent to $42.64 and aluminum company
Alcoa Inc advanced 2.18 percent to $9.84. The PHLX
Gold/Silver Index climbed 2.86 percent to its highest
since early March.
The S&P energy sector index rose 1.3 percent and the
S&P materials sector index was up 1.2 percent.
U.S. economic data released on Friday helped justify the
Fed's decision to launch a third round of bond purchases to try
to lower borrowing costs and spur growth.
A jump in the cost of gasoline pushed consumer prices up in
August at the fastest pace in more than three years and squeezed
spending on other items, threatening to further slow the already
sluggish economy. Other data showed production at factories,
mines and utilities dropped by 1.2 percent, the biggest decline
since March 2009.
S&P Dow Jones Indices said UnitedHealth Group Inc
will replace Kraft Foods Inc in the Dow Jones industrial
average after the close of trading Sept. 21. UnitedHealth shares
rose 0.67 percent to $54.25 and Kraft slipped 0.5 percent to
Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement
chain, was up 2 percent to $59.46 after the company announced it
will close all seven of its big box stores and cut 850 jobs in
Shares of Staples were up 2.09 percent to $12.21
after Fortune magazine reported that several private equity
firms, including Bain Capital, are considering a buyout offer
for the retailer.
Total volume was 8.45 billion shares, above last year's
daily average of 7.84 billion.
On both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, about two
stocks rose for every one that fell.