Stocks Rally, Led by Financials

U.S. stocks closed broadly higher Monday, led by gains in financials after influential analyst Meredith Whitney upgraded her rating on Goldman Sachs Group (GS) to buy from neutral ahead of its second-quarter earnings report due on Tuesday.

On Monday, the 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average finished higher by 185.16 points, or 2.27%, at 8,331.68, with all of the blue chip benchmark's component stocks advancing. The broad Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was higher by 21.92 points, or 2.49%, at 901.05. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 37.18 points, or 2.12%, to 1,793.21.

Treasuries fell. The dollar index also fell, sending gold futures higher. Crude oil futures were mixed.

Other major U.S. banks like Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are slated to post results this week. Dow industrials components Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), IBM Corp. (IBM), and General Electric (GE) are also on this week's calendar, as are tech bellwethers Intel (INTC) and Google (GOOG).

On this week's economic front, June reports on the producer price index, retail sales, industrial production, and housing starts will shed more light on how the economy is faring.

"For investors, it's no longer good enough that the pace of decline in economic growth is slowing and that a bottom may have been reached," says Action Economics. "Rather, they want to see real evidence of a meaningful and sustained pick up in growth."

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury posted a $94.3 billion budget deficit in June, up 381% from a year earlier. Receipts fell 17.1% year-over-year, while outlays rose 36.8%. For the fiscal year to date, government red ink now totals a record $1,086.3 billion, up 280% compared to the same 9 months from 2008.

There is still some uncertainty about when the $65 billion in repaid TARP funds will hit the monthly data, notes Action Economics. "Nevertheless, this negative news on the budget is consistent with the fiscal problems seen regionally, nationally, and globally," says Action Economics.

White House economic adviser Larry Summers warned over the weekend that the worst is yet to come in the current economic crisis, in comments reported in the Financial Times. Summers remarked that more jobs will be lost, and he said "it would not be surprising if GDP has not yet reached its low." However, Summers acknowledged that the "sense of panic in the markets and freefall in the economy has subsided." Summers hopes that the U.S. economy will be "more export-oriented" and "less consumption-oriented."

Summers also commented on forex reserve accumulation, stating, "The very great enthusiasm for accumulating reserves that one saw globally is likely to be a smaller factor over the next decade than it has been in recent years."

The Associated Press reported that CIT Group Inc. (CIT) is working with a premier bankruptcy firm as the troubled commercial lender awaits word on whether it will receive funds from a federal program designed to help banks, the company confirmed Saturday.

CardioNet (BEAT) said on July 10 it received a letter from Highmark Medicare Services stating effective Sept. 1, Highmark was adjusting its reimbursement rate for MCOT services to $754 per service. Based on CardioNet's ongoing discussions with Highmark and CMS and the company's desire for a re-evaluation of reimbursement that it is pursuing, but cannot assure will be realized, CardioNet believes it is prudent to withdraw 2009 guidance.

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