By Michael P. Regan and Rita Nazareth - Aug 3, 2011 5:30 PM CT
U.S. stocks rose, reversing earlier losses and preventing the longest Dow Jones Industrial Average slump since 1978, as investors speculated the Federal Reserve will start another stimulus program. Treasuries 10-year notes erased gains, and the dollar slid.
The Dow halted an eight-day drop, gaining 29.82 points to 11,896.44 at 4 p.m. in New York. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent, rebounding after yesterday’s plunge drove it to the cheapest price-earnings ratio in more than a year. Ten-year Treasury yields rose one basis point to 2.62 percent. Oil slid to a five- week low following government data showing an increase in stockpiles. The franc fell from a record versus the euro and dollar after Switzerland reduced interest rates.
Speculation the Fed will embark on a third round of asset purchases to stem off a recession grew after the Wall Street Journal said three former central bank officials support the approach. More than $2.3 trillion had been erased from the value of global equities since July 22, and Treasury yields set 2011 lows, amid concern the economic recovery is faltering. Service industries grew in July at the slowest pace since February 2010, the Institute for Supply Management said today.
“Every time we see economic weakness, there will be discussion about more economic stimulus,” Richard Sichel, who oversees $1.6 billion as chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., said in telephone interview. “That could be the case given the fairly weak economic figures we’ve had. In addition, the market has given back a lot recently and people started to look at some bargains.”