U.S. Stocks Extend Gains as Consumer Confidence Tops Estimates

U.S. stocks extended gains, trimming a weekly slide, after an unexpected increase in a gauge of consumer confidence bolstered optimism in the economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.3 percent to 1,436.91 at 9:58 a.m. in New York and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60 points.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary October consumer sentiment index increased to 83.1 from 78.3 the prior month. The gauge was projected to fall to 78, according to the median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The S&P 500 lost 1.9 percent this week before today, heading for the biggest drop since June 1. The benchmark equity gauge is still up 14 percent this year as companies reported better-than-expected earnings and the Federal Reserve announced a third round of bond purchases.

Earnings pessimism among U.S. companies is climbing to levels last seen when stocks were mired in bear markets.

Over the last four weeks, the ratio of companies saying profits will trail estimates compared with those saying they will exceed them climbed to 4.3, according to 69 earnings previews compiled by Bloomberg. The rate matches peaks reached in February 2009 and October 2001, the data show.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael P. Regan at mregan12@bloomberg.net

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