U.S. stocks ended up strongly today as investors cheered news that the economys contraction in the third quarter wasnt as bad as earlier thought.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 189.73, or 2.1%, at 9,180.69; the Dow had been up about 200 points in the last hour of trading. The S&P 500 rose 24, or 2.6%, closing at 954.09; and the Nasdaq composite was up 41.31 points, or 2.5%, to close at 1,698.52. All numbers are preliminary.
Before Wall Street opened today, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. gross domestic product in the third quarter fell at a 0.3% annualized rate, the weakest since the third quarter of 2001 but below the 0.5% decline that economists had been forecasting. That compared to a 2.8% growth rate in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The economic contraction was driven in large part by the first decline in consumer spending in 17 years. Consumer spending fell at a 3.1% annualized rate in the third quarter, more than the 2.4% many economists had expected.
Energy stocks fell on news that UBS cut its forecast for oil prices next year by 43%, offsetting Exxon Mobil Corp.s report today that its third-quarter profit of $14.8 billion was the highest ever for a U.S. corporation. Light, sweet crude closed at $65.55 a barrel, down $1.95, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.