Midday Market Update: IBM Leads the Charge as Stocks Rally

By Jennifer Yousfi
Managing Editor

Markets rallied for a third day despite a host of weak economic data that signaled a slowing U.S. economy.

"All this bad news should be adding up to a triple-digit loss for the Dow, but there is already a lot of bad news priced into the market, and you get to the point where you price in enough bad news and you get to have an opposite day," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co., told MarketWatch.

At midday, the three major U.S. stock indices all posted gains. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 102.08 points (0.81%), to trade at 12,672.30. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index gained 18.75 points (0.81%), to reach 2,346.23. And the broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased 8.45 points (0.62%), to settle at 1,380.25.

All sectors were up, with technology the biggest gainer with a 0.84% increase on news that IBM Corp. (IBM) plans to buyback $15 billion in stock.

"We've seen the positive momentum kind of return," Wendell Perkins, who helps manage $1.7 billion at Optique Capital Management, said in a Bloomberg Television interview from New York. "This market is trying its very best to bottom, to find some solid ground."

In overseas markets, Japan's Nikkei Index slipped 89.85 points to close at 13,824.72. Hong Kong's blue-chip Hang Seng Index posted 445.61-point gain to close at 23,714.75.

In Europe, major indices had gains in late afternoon trading including the Paris-based CAC40, Madrid's IBEX 35, the Frankfurt-based DAX and London's FTSE 100.

At midday, the dollar had lost ground against the euro [down 0.417%] and the pound sterling [down 0.309%], but remained steady against the yen [no change].

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