Bank stocks lead stock market surge despite credit downgrades

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NEW YORK — The stock market bounced back Friday, one day after its second-worst loss this year. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other big lenders posted solid gains even though many of them had their credit ratings cut the day before.

Analysts said the downgrades from Moody’s Investor Service late Thursday had been expected for months and removed some of the uncertainty that had been weighing on bank stocks.

“It’s been like a cloud over the sector,” said Brian Gendreau, market strategist with the broker Cetera Financial. “And look at who’s going up: bank stocks. There are obviously some people who thought it would be much worse.”

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.21 to close at 12,640.78. Bank of America gained 1.5 percent, or 12 cents, to $7.94, one of the best showings of the 30 stocks in the Dow.

In a note to clients, analysts at the investment bank Keefe Bruyette & Woods called Morgan Stanley “the clear winner.” Some analysts had expected Moody’s to lower Morgan Stanley’s rating by three notches, instead of the two-notch cut it received.

Bank stocks rose across the board. Morgan Stanley rose 18 cents to $14.14. JPMorgan Chase climbed 48 cents to $35.99.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9.51 points to 1,335.02 and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 33.33 points to 2,892.42. The gains turned the Nasdaq positive for the week.

Information technology stocks had the strongest gains of the 10 industry groups tracked by the S&P 500 index, followed by health care stocks and banks. The gains were small but widespread. All 10 sectors rose. Of the 30 stocks in the Dow, just two fell.

The Dow and S&P 500 finished the week lower, their first week of losses since June 1. The biggest drop of the week came Thursday, when three weak manufacturing reports stirred fears about the global economy. The Dow lost 251 points, its second-steepest fall this year. The worst was June 1, after a dismal U.S. jobs report rattled markets.

Even with two days of deep losses, the S&P 500 is still up 1.9 percent this month. To Gendreau, it appears investors have been overreacting to recent economic reports. “The market is getting jerked around,” he said. “The economic data point to a softening economy, but we’ve had a softening economy for three years now.”


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