The Fed's aptly, at least today, named Beige Book revealed that all 12 of the Fed's districts reported some growth through late August. However, the growth was described in terms such as "modest," "sluggish," and "very subdued." Whatever the term, reports of at least some growth combined with news Germany would uphold its end of an EU bailout plan sent stocks up after three losing days.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.47 percent, or 275.56 points, to 11,414.86; the Nasdaq was up 3.04 percent, or 75.11 points, to 2,548.94; the Standard & Poor's 500 was up 2.86 percent, or 33.38 points, to 1,198.62; and the NYSE composite was up 2.90 percent, or 207.00 points, to 7,355.13.
Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) investors were happy to see the board and now former-CEO Carol Bartz part ways. The end of the controversial CEO's tenure sent shares up 5.42 percent, or $0.70, to $13.61.
The Talbots Inc. (NYSE:TLB) also got a boost from a personnel move. Although the retailer yesterday reported down quarterly numbers, the market responded to news it was replacing its creative director. Shares were up 17.00 percent, or $0.43, to $2.96.
Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE:PAY) beat expectations and saw shares rise 1.43 percent, or $0.50, to $35.57.
OfficeMax Inc. (NYSE:OMX) presented a good news-bad news scenario, and investors decided to listen to the good news. The company lowered its Q3 revenue guidance, but said it expected better margins in the current quarter. Shares were up 8.94 percent, or $0.47, to $5.73.
Commodities and Currencies
Oil was up 3.85 percent, or $3.31, to $89.33 per barrel. Gold was down 3.01 percent, or $56.30, to $1,813.60.
The euro gained 0.0095 against the U.S. dollar to 1.4101. The dollar lost 0.2500 against the Japanese yen to 77.2650. The British pound gained 0.0032 against the dollar to 1.5979.
Britain's' FTSE was up 3.14 percent, or 161.75, to 5,318.59; Germany's DAX was up 4.07 percent, or 211.56 points, to 5,405.53; and France's CAC 40 was up 3.63 percent, or 107.54, to 3,073.18.
Japan's Nikkei was up 2.01 percent, or 172.84 points, to 8,763.41; Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.71 percent, or 337.50 points, to 20,048.00; Singapore's Straits Times was up 2.08 percent, or 57.80 points, to 2,832.13; and China's Shanghai Composite was up 1.84 percent, or 45.57 points, to 2,516.09.
The home health care industry was up 7.13 percent today, claiming top honors. Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq:AMED) was up 17.11 percent, or $2.61, to $17.86. Gentive Health Services Inc. (Nasdaq:GTIV) was up 15.07 percent, or $1.01, to $7.70.
The music and video store industry was the day's loser, down 1.26 percent. TransWorld Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq:TWMC) was down 2.06 percent, or $0.04, to $1.90. Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX) was down 1.27 percent, or $2.77, to $216.00.
Best and Worst
Nothing shoots a biotech stock up like a good test result or government approval, and MELA Sciences Inc. was no different. Shares were up 56.25 percent, or $1.26, to $3.50 on news European Union regulators gave the nod for the company to sell its melanoma detection kits to doctors, making it the day's big percentage gainer.
A day before holding a conference call to discuss a proposed merger with Verge Media Cos. Inc., Westwood One Inc. (Nasdaq:WWON) was down 19.32 percent, or $1.03, to $4.30, making it the day's big percentage decliner.