* Bank of America shares jump after earnings
* Empire State manufacturing index, PPI increase
* Dow up 0.8 pct, S&P 500 up 0.6 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 15 U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday,
with the S&P 500 hitting a record high after strong earnings
from Bank of America and data pointed to improvement in the
Bank of America Corp shares climbed 2.7 percent to
$17.22 and gave one of the biggest boosts to the S&P 500 after
the second-largest U.S. bank said its quarterly profit surged by
nearly $3 billion, as revenue increased and mortgage losses
plunged in the clearest sign yet that the bank was shaking off
the impact of the financial crisis.
"Going forward, it's back to earnings, and we're keeping an
eye on the banks," said Yu-Dee Chang, chief trader of ACE
Investments in Vienna, Virginia.
"The mortgage side of (the business) wasn't great for the
fourth quarter, but despite that, banks are doing great."
Wells Fargo & Co on Tuesday posted a
better-than-expected quarterly profit, but mortgage lending
slowed to the lowest level in five years.
The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index rose 0.4
percent last month, the biggest increase since June, although
inflation pressures remained benign, data showed.
In addition, the New York Federal Reserve Bank's "Empire
State" index of general business conditions climbed to its
highest level in 20 months.
"We're going from 'bad news is good news' to 'good news is
good news.' No one wants to see the economy doing badly any
more," Chang said.
The Federal Reserve had pointed to a struggling economy
during the years of extraordinary stimulus that helped put a
floor under equity prices. The U.S. central bank, however,
decided last month to start withdrawing that stimulus, and
investors are looking for signs that the economy can stand on
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 124.04 points
or 0.76 percent, to 16,497.90. The S&P 500 gained 10.28
points or 0.56 percent, to 1,849.16, just off a record intraday
high of 1,850.84. The Nasdaq Composite added 29.2 points
or 0.70 percent, to 4,212.216.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent, its biggest
gain since Dec. 18, as a strong December retail sales reading
eased concerns that economic growth might be slowing and stocks
may be expensive.
By midday on Wednesday, the S&P financial index was
up 1 percent.
General Motors Co said it will pay the first
quarterly dividend on its common stock in almost six years. The
automaker's new executive team said while it expects a slight
uptick in pre-tax profits this year, margins likely would remain
flat until 2015. GM's stock lost 1.7 percent to $39.32.
Tesla Motors Inc shares shot up 2.4 percent to
$165.20 a day after the electric car maker said that deliveries
of its Model S sedan in the fourth quarter sharply exceeded what
the company had forecast.
The stock of SolarCity Corp gained 3.8 percent to
$68.06 after the top U.S. solar installer unveiled a plan to
allow investors, including individuals, to invest in its rooftop
Shares of Chelsea Therapeutics more than doubled
in price after an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration concluded on Tuesday that the company's drug to
treat a rare form of low blood pressure is effective enough to
warrant regulatory approval. The stock jumped 107.4 percent to
In contrast to the session's upward trend, Fastenal Co
slid 5.3 percent to $45.67 after the industrial and
construction supply company reported fourth-quarter earnings