5 Mar 2009

Market breaks 5-day loss

11:53 am on 5 March 2009

Stocks in the United States rallied on Wednesday, ending a five-day losing streak.

Commodity prices were boosted by another stimulus package in China. Oil and metals prices rose.

But the rally was modest, compared with declines of more than 21% since the beginning of the year for the Dow and S&P.

Caterpillar Inc, a big exporter to China and a major seller of equipment to the miners, jumped 13.2% to $US25.44.

However, General Electric ended the day lower. Its shares fell 4.6% to $US6.69 for a fourth day of losses.

Investors are worried its ailing financial arm could threaten the whole company. GE has fallen 21% this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 149.82 points, or 2.23%, to 6,875.84.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 16.54 points, or 2.38%, to 712.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index put on 32.73 points, or 2.48%, to 1,353.74.

Trading was active on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.80 billion shares changing hands - above last year's estimated daily average of 1.49 billion.

About 2.36 billion shares were traded on the Nasdaq - above last year's daily average of 2.28 billion.