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Stocks rebound as traders look to upbeat earnings

NEW YORK – Investors set aside worries about bank earnings Wednesday to focus on upbeat reports from industrial and technology companies.

Stocks fell in early trading only to pull higher in the late morning, as they did on Tuesday when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reassured investors about the health of banks’ balance sheets.

On Wednesday, dissipating worries about Morgan Stanley’s weaker-than-expected results made it easier for investors to respond to better earnings news from AT&T Inc., Boeing Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

“We’re starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel,” said Frank Ingarra, co-portfolio manager at Hennessy Funds, referring to some of the recent earnings data. “The challenge is I don’t know how long the tunnel is.”

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 48.51, or 0.6 percent, to 8,018.17. It was the first move above the 8,000 mark since Monday, when stocks tumbled on worries about bank balance sheets.

Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.82, or 0.6 percent, to 854.90, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 19.66, or 1.2 percent, to 1,663.51.

Morgan Stanley fell 73 cents, or 3 percent, to $23.92 after reporting it lost $578 million. The company said it was hurt in part by a deteriorating commercial real estate market. The bank’s loss to common shareholders totaled 57 cents per share for the January to March period. That was wider than the per-share loss of 8 cents analysts had expected.

Morgan’s report was important because it interrupted a string of better-than-expected results from banks that suggested some of their problems were easing. Banks have largely dictated the stock market’s direction since the fall of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in mid-September. Analysts say it’s crucial that banks become more stable and resume normal levels of lending in order for the economy to recover.

AT&T said strong results from its wireless business softened the effect of the weak economy and helped the country’s biggest telecommunications carrier beat analyst estimates for the first quarter. The stock rose 94 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $26.22.

McDonald’s rose 50 cents to $56.13 after saying its first-quarter profit climbed nearly 4 percent. Earnings of 87 cents per share topped the 82 cents per share figure Wall Street had been expected.

Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia last fall at the height of the credit crisis, said it earned $2.38 billion. That compares with a profit of $2 billion a year earlier. Wells rose $1.36, or 7.2 percent, to $20.17.

Boeing said its first-quarter earnings fell 50 percent, partly because of planned production cuts as airlines postpone deliveries of new planes. The world’s second-largest plane maker also lowered its forecast for the year. The stock rose $1.21, or 3.3 percent, to $37.86.

Yahoo rose 61 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $14.99 after saying it would lay off nearly 700 workers. The company’s earnings fell 78 percent to $118 million for the first three months of the year.

Continental Airlines Inc. rose 58 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $15.58 after reporting it lost $136 million in the first quarter as traffic fell and business travelers saved money by moving from first-class to the coach cabin.

In other trading, the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 7.21, or 1.5 percent, to 477.26.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 375.6 million shares.

Bond prices fell, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 2.95 percent from 2.90 percent late Tuesday. The yield on the three-month T-bill rose to 0.15 percent from 0.13 percent Tuesday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Light, sweet crude rose 3 cents to $48.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.18 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 1.9 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 1.4 percent.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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