The Associated Press
NEW YORK — An early charge on Wall Street Wednesday put the Dow Jones industrial average on track for a second day of gains, something that hasn’t happened since late April.
Trader John Panin, left, and specialist Frederick Edwards work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, June 1, 2012. Wall Street appeared set for gains Wednesday June 6, 2012, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.8 percent to 12,222 and SP 500 futures adding 1 percent to 1,298. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE- In this Monday, June 4, 2012, file photo, Trader Daniel Kryger right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street appears set for gains Wednesday June 6, 2012, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.8 percent to 12,222 and SP 500 futures adding 1 percent to 1,298. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
The gains turned the Dow average positive for the year following a dismal stretch in May.
The Dow was up 154 points at 12,242 in the first hour of trading. That’s a gain of 1.3 percent. All 30 Dow stocks were higher, led by Bank of America, up 4.5 percent.
The Standard Poor’s 500 index rose 16 points to 1,302. The Nasdaq composite rose 43 points to 2,820.
The gains were broad. Just 16 of the SP 500 companies were lower, and every sector in the SP index rose. More than eight stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
The dollar fell and Treasury yields rose as investors moved money out of defensive investments. The yield on the benchmark rose to 1.60 percent from 1.57 percent late Tuesday.
U.S. markets followed major European indexes higher as speculation rose that European politicians will take steps to ease the region’s debt crisis soon. Britain’s benchmark stock index rose 1.9 percent, France’s rose 1.8 percent. Borrowing costs eased for Spain, another positive sign.
The European Central Bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged on Wednesday. The central bank has been urged to cut rates to alleviate pressure on Europe’s weakened banks and governments, but bank President Mario Draghi has said the bank cannot make up for inaction by governments.
Among stocks making big moves:
— UnitedHealth Group gained 2 percent after the health insurer said it will raise its quarterly dividend from 16 cents to 21 cents per share . The board also approved a plan to buy back stock.
— Tempur-Pedic International plunged 45 percent. The mattress maker said it expects quarterly profits to fall by half compared to last year. Tempur-Pedic blamed its competitors’ aggressive marketing campaigns and promotions for hurting its sales.
June 06, 2012 10:41 AM EDT
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