U.S. Stocks Advance on Chinese Economy, Syria Proposal

U.S. stocks climbed, extending the longest winning streak for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (TRAN) since July, as data showed China’s economy is improving amid signs of easing tensions over Syria.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Visa Inc. and Nike Inc. jumped more than 2.1 percent as the three companies will be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, replacing Bank of America Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Alcoa Inc. Apple Inc. (AAPL) tumbled 2.3 percent as the world’s biggest technology company unveiled new iPhone models.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.7 percent to 1,683.99 at 4 p.m. in New York. The index has gained for six straight days, the most since July 15. The Dow rose 127.94 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,191.06 today. About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 11 percent above the three-month average.

“The news from Syria is positive and we had decent economic data out of China,” Gary Flam, a portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview. His firm oversees $7 billion. “Investors came into September cautiously positioned, but one by one their concerns are being removed or lessened.”

The S&P 500 has risen 3.1 percent in the first six trading days of the month, recovering from a drop of as much as 4.6 percent since a record high on Aug. 2. The benchmark index declined amid concern over a possible military strike against Syria and the prospect for the Federal Reserve scaling back its monetary stimulus.

Russian Plan

President Barack Obama asked Democratic senators to delay a vote on authorizing military strikes to allow time for talks on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, lawmakers said today. France said it will submit a Russian-backed plan to confiscate Syria’s chemical weapons to the United Nations, as Interfax reported that Bashar al-Assad’s government accepted the proposal. Obama is scheduled to outline his intentions on Syria in a speech at 9 p.m. tonight in Washington.

Stocks rose earlier after China’s industrial output rose 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier and the nation’s retail sales gained 13.4 percent. Both results exceeded economists’ estimates. Equities climbed yesterday as China’s exports topped forecasts.

The Fed is watching economic data ahead of its Sept. 17-18 meeting as it considers reducing its monthly $85 billion in asset buying. The S&P 500 has rallied as much as 153 percent since the beginning of the bull market in March 2009 as the central bank continued to provide stimulus to the economy.

Economists estimate the Fed this month will taper its monthly bond buying by $10 billion, to $75 billion, according to the median of 34 responses in a Bloomberg News survey.

Volatility Index

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), or VIX, dropped 7 percent to 14.53. The equity volatility gauge is down 15 percent in September after rallying 26 percent in August, the biggest monthly gain since May 2012.

The Dow Jones Transportation Index jumped 1.9 percent to the highest level in a month. Shares in companies whose earnings are most closely tied to economic growth rose, sending the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index up 1.7 percent to the highest level since the gauge started in 1978. Industrial and financial shares rallied the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500, adding at least 1.1 percent.

Microsoft Corp. climbed 2.3 percent to $32.39 for the biggest gain in the Dow. General Electric Co. advanced 2.1 percent to $23.87, while United Technologies Corp., the maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Sikorsky helicopters, increased 1.7 percent to $106.26.

Dow Members

Goldman Sachs climbed 3.5 percent to $165.14. Nike jumped 2.2 percent to $66.82 and Visa increased 3.4 percent to $184.59. Hewlett-Packard lost 0.4 percent to $22.27. Alcoa slipped 0.3 percent to $8.06. Bank of America added 0.9 percent to $14.61.

The changes to the Dow will be the biggest reshuffling since April 2004. It will boost the influence of banking and computer companies in the 30-member gauge as the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets and the largest payment network join seven other financial and technology firms, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. Bank of America exits even after rising 109 percent in 2012, the Dow’s largest gain. The changes will take effect after the close on Sept. 20.

McDonald’s Corp. climbed 0.5 percent to $96.89. The world’s largest restaurant chain said same-store sales increased 1.9 percent last month, helped by demand in Europe. Analysts projected a 0.3 percent increase, the average of 16 estimates from Consensus Metrix. McDonald’s said it benefited from demand in France and Russia as well as the introduction of blended-ice beverages in the U.K.

Apple Presentation

E*Trade Financial Corp. soared 3.6 percent to $17.10, the highest level since February 2011. The online brokerage said its daily average revenue-generating trades rose 5 percent in August compared to the previous month and the stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral at Macquarie Group Ltd.

Apple tumbled 2.3 percent to $494.64. The company unveiled a cheaper $99 version of the iPhone in bright colors and an updated high-end device, in a strategy shift by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to reach a broader range of customers around the world as competing devices running Google Inc.’s Android software gain in popularity.

“The competition has caught up and it’s now purely about how quickly it can innovate and drive its own experience forward,” said Benedict Evans, an analyst with Enders Analysis in London.

Apple also said it was adding Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc., and that it would have devices available upon introduction in China for the first time. The company is near a deal with China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest carrier, people familiar with the plans have said.

Urban Outfitters Inc. fell the most in the S&P 500, losing 10 percent to $38.35. The teen-clothing retailer said third-quarter comparable sales so far are growing at a mid-single-digit pace. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC last week estimated the company would report that the sales were running at a “high-single digit” rate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft in New York at ngammeltoft@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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