Stocks claim back yesterday’s losses on Wall Street

Shares were trading near session highs late in the day in New York, as the batch of strong economic reports seen earlier in the day sparked optimism.

The S&P 500 was up 1.28% at 1593 with under half an hour to go on the New York Stock Exchange, while the Dow gained 0.93% to 14,800. Bank of America and Hewlett Packard were among the biggest gainers.

Even with today’s bounce, the S&P 500 remains lower at these levels than it began the month.

Recent comments from certain members of the Fed have sought to soften the impact of Ben Bernanke’s press conference last week where he indicated tapering could occur later this year.

Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Fed, was at pains yesterday to suggest that any tapering would be done cautiously, saying he did not want to go ‘cold turkey overnight’.

Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota also spoke yesterday regarding stimulus, saying he was unconcerned by short-term price action in response to the Fed, but that any interpretation that the Fed is more hawkish now is a mis-perception.

Both Mr Fisher and Mr Kocherlakota are non-voting members of the FOMC, but their comments suggest that perhaps the immediate market reaction to last week’s FOMC meeting was a little overdone.

Reports earlier showed durable goods orders, sales of new homes and consumer confidence all exceeding the expectations of analysts and that has help to shore up market sentiment today, with housing stocks performing strongly this afternoon in New York.

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