Stocks rally to best quarter since 1998
Dow up 66 points to 13,212
U.S. stocks recorded their biggest first-quarter point gain in 14 years Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 66 points at 13,212. With a gain of 994.48 points for the quarter, that was also the best first-quarter percentage gain (it’s up 8.15 percent) since 1998, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Standard & Poor’s index of 500 large cap common stocks rose six points to 1,409 and the Nasdaq composite was down by a single point at 3,094, a 151-point, or 12 percent gain, making this its best quarter since 2009.
While the Nasdaq composite index was dipped 3.79 points, or 0.12 percent, to 3,091.57, this still represented a gain of nearly 19 percent, according to Reuters. CNBC said this was the Nasdaq’s best quarterly performance in 21 years.
The gainers on the Dow, which has now logged six consecutive months of gains, were lead by Disney (up 1.79 percent, or $0.77, to $43.78) and Hewlett Packard (up 1.36 percent, or $0.32, to $22.83), according to CNBC.
There appeared to be consensus in that recent gains were spurred onward by better-than-expected US economic data and the after the eurozone agreed to raise a ceiling on a bailout fund.
According to The Associated Press, the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose in February at the strongest rate since July. The best job growth in two years also contributed to a rosier picture, the news agency said.
In a more sobering note, however, the AP said Americans had spent more even though their incomes had not risen for two months. Gasoline accounted for some of this as prices are the highest on record for this time of year.
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.