BY Chuck Mikolajczak
Wall Street rose on Wednesday and the S&P topped the key 1,200 level, lifted by solid results from Intel and JPMorgan Chase, while retail sales data gave fresh evidence the economic recovery was broadening.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
The benchmark S&P 500 finally broke through 1,200 after failing to breach the psychologically key level in recent sessions. The index has soared nearly 77 percent since a 12-year low in March 2009.
It's a good environment for the stock market right now because news is better than expected and there is a lot of cash on the sideline, said Terry Morris, senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Co in Reading, Pennsylvania.
No one wants to sell because the market is trending higher and a lot of people feel like they've missed the boat. So anytime you see a small downdraft, the buying comes in.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 43.38 points, or 0.39 percent, to 11,062.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 5.21 points, or 0.44 percent, to 1,202.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 20.31 points, or 0.82 percent, to 2,486.30.
Sales at U.S. retailers in March rose 1.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported, versus the forecast of a 1.2 percent increase. Separately, consumer prices were up 0.1 percent, matching expectations, the Labor Department said, giving the Federal Reserve a chance to keep ultra-low interest rates.
Investors are also waiting for the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, set for release at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), for clues into when the central bank will adjust its monetary policy.
If the S&P 500 holds above 1,200, it could now find strong resistance at around 1,228, a 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the October 2007 to March 2009 decline, according to Reuters data. The Fibonacci number is a widely used technical tool that can help identify the point at which asset prices will reverse.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)