October 14, 2009 / 8:42 PM / 10 years ago

US STOCKS-Dow breaks 10,000 mark on earnings optimism

* Dow breaks 10,000-mark for 1st time in year

* JPMorgan, Intel results boost investor confidence

* Retail sales ex-autos rises for second month

* Dow up 1.5 pct, S&P 500 up 1.8 pct, Nasdaq up 1.5 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Adds volume)

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The Dow industrials pierced the 10,000 level on Wednesday for the first time in a year on surprisingly robust company results and better-than-expected retail sales.

With major indexes up more than 1 percent, the Dow’s milestone is a symbol of how far the market has come since last year when investors fled collapsing financial markets as the economic outlook soured. Analysts said reaching 10,000 could encourage more investors to buy stocks.

“Dow 10,000 may be largely psychological, but with tremendous levels of cash on the sidelines this may still be a call to action for investors,” said Lawrence Glazer, managing partner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 144.80 points, or 1.47 percent, to 10,015.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX gained 18.83 points, or 1.75 percent, to 1,092.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC put on 32.34 points, or 1.51 percent, to 2,172.23.

Strong results from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Intel Corp (INTC.O) also bolstered analysts’ optimism over the earnings season that is picking up pace.

A fresh 14-month low for the dollar also helped stocks as investors bet the slumping currency will lift profits of large multinational companies with big overseas sales. For a graphic see here

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM.N) quarterly profit rose sharply, bolstering hopes other major Wall Street banks will report strong results this week. Its stock jumped 3.3 percent to $47.16 and the S&P financial index .GSPF gained 3.4 percent. For details, see [ID:nN13183184]

Chip maker Intel Corp (INTC.O) gained 1.7 percent to $20.83 a day after reporting a quarterly outlook and results that soared past expectations. [ID:nN14250913] Analysts have said signs of improving revenue will be key to the current season.

A government report showed U.S. retail sales, excluding auto purchases, rose for a second month. The data offered cautious optimism that spending could help support the economy as it struggles out of recession. [ID:nN14236340]

The S&P retail index .RLX rose 1.7 percent.

RETURN OF 10,000

The Dow was last at 10,000 in October 2008 when it dropped through that barrier in a selloff on increasing fears about the depth of the financial crisis. The index is up 52.9 percent since the 12-year closing low of early March, but is still down 29.3 percent from its October 2007 record close of 14,164.53.

While the return of 10,000 was greeted with relief, analysts cautioned the economy remains fragile. Light volume also signaled conviction was weak, which makes it easier to push stocks up.

“It means we’ve come a long ways in a hurry,” said Scott Marcouiller, senior equity market strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis.

“It is a psychological positive, but it’s also a logical spot now for us to take a pause.”

Abbott Laboratories Inc (ABT.N) also cheered investors after it reported profit that topped Wall Street forecasts. Revenue was in line with targets, soothing investors on the heels of a disappointing sales report from rival Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) on Tuesday. [ID:nN13187111]. Abbott was up 3.1 percent at $51.20.

Volume was moderate on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.35 billion shares changing hands, below last year’s estimated daily average of 1.49 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 2.37 billion shares traded, above last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,275 to 763, while advancing stocks beat decliners on the Nasdaq by about 2,028 to 688. (Additional reporting by John Parry; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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