13 Feb 2009

Mortgage plan news spurs late US market rally

1:19 pm on 13 February 2009

US stocks staged a late rally to close mostly higher on Thursday after a report that the Obama administration was working on a programme to subsidize mortgage payments for troubled homeowners.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 6.77 points, or 0.09%, to end at 7,932.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.45 points, or 0.17%, to 835.19.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.21 points, or 0.73%, at 1,541.71.

Banks and homebuilders, which had helped drag the market lower throughout the session, more than halved their losses after Reuters reported the government was working on the programme, that would help homeowners most in need before they fall into arrears.

Solid quarterly results from Coca-Cola Co underpinned the rally, as it ended up 7.6% at $44.39 making it top driver of the Dow.

Gains in big-cap technology stocks, including iPhone maker Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which rebounded after a 14.5% drop Wednesday, helped lift Nasdaq.

Apple ranked as the top gainer on Nasdaq, ending up 2.5% to $99.27.