* Bank of America shares jump after earnings
* Empire State manufacturing index, PPI increase
* Fastenal shares plunge after earnings miss expectations
* Dow up 0.8 pct, S&P 500 up 0.6 pct, Nasdaq up 0.8 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 15 U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday,
with the S&P 500 climbing to an all-time high after strong
earnings from Bank of America and data signaled that the economy
Bank of America Corp climbed 2.5 percent to $17.19
as one of the biggest boosts to the S&P after the second-largest
U.S. bank said its quarterly profit surged by nearly $3 billion
on an increase in revenue.
The report comes a day after both JPMorgan Chase & Co
and Wells Fargo & Co also posted better-than-expected
earnings, though Wells Fargo's mortgage lending slowed to the
lowest level in five years.
"So far so good with bank earnings this season, and it is
very positive that we're seeing significant declines in
foreclosures, which is very positive for the economy," said
David Kelly, chief global strategist for JPMorgan Funds in New
In the latest economic data, the seasonally adjusted
Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent last month, the biggest
increase since June, although inflation pressures remained
benign. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's "Empire State"
index of general business conditions climbed to its highest
level in 20 months.
The data reassured investors that the economy is able to
stand on its own even as the Federal Reserve begins to slow its
massive stimulus programs, which contributed to huge equity
gains in 2013. Wall Street's rally on Wednesday erased some of
2014's early weakness, putting major indexes near break-even
levels for the year.
In its latest Beige Book report on business activity, the
Fed said the economy grew at a moderate pace from late November
through the end of 2013, with some regions of the country
expecting a pickup in growth.
"The general trend of economic numbers is pretty positive,
and helping to get people over the shock of the recent weak
payroll report," said Kelly, who helps oversee $400 billion in
assets. "An improving economy is a trend of 2014, and that will
be good for equities throughout the year."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 122.95
points, or 0.75 percent, at 16,496.81. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 10.23 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,849.11.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.88 points, or 0.76
percent, at 4,214.89.
As its session peak, the S&P 500 climbed to 1,850.84, a
record intraday high for the benchmark index.
Trading will probably be driven by earnings as the season
continues. With only 5 percent of the S&P 500 having reported
results so far, 52 percent of companies have topped earnings
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, a rate that is
below the historical average of 63 percent.
Tesla Motors Inc rose 3.7 percent to $167.20 a day
after the electric car maker said that deliveries of its Model S
sedan in the fourth quarter sharply exceeded what the company
SolarCity Corp gained 4.5 percent to $68.48 after
the top U.S. solar installer unveiled a plan to allow investors,
including individuals, to invest in its rooftop solar systems.
Shares of Chelsea Therapeutics soared 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 92.6 percent to $4.43.
On the downside, Fastenal Co slid 5.1 percent to
$45.73 as the S&P 500's biggest decliner after the industrial
and construction supply company reported fourth-quarter earnings