28 Jul 2009

Wall St up slightly in late rally led by banks

9:37 am on 28 July 2009

US stocks rose slightly on Monday in a late rally as investors rotated into financial shares, which had lagged in the recent two-week run-up.

Upbeat data on new home sales underpinned financial stocks, the session's strongest sector, and prompted investors to snap up the shares of several regional banks, which had been among the worst hit by credit losses tied to a weak housing market.

The Dow Jones U.S. home construction index shot up 4.3% after data showed US new home sales posted their biggest monthly gain in eight years in June, suggesting the housing market may be starting to recover.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.92 points, or 0.30%, to 982.18.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.27 points, or 0.17%, to close at 9,108.51.

The Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.93 points, or 0.10%, to end at 1,967.89.

Stronger-than-expected earnings, coupled with upbeat economic data, have lifted indexes recently, giving stocks their best two-week run since just after the S&P 500 hit a 12-year closing low in the beginning of March.

The three major indexes rose about 11% each over the past two weeks.