U.S. stocks began higher on Wednesday, with equities extending a rise that has the Dow Industrials up more than 5% for the month, looking at double-digit gains for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31 points to 11,606. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 2 points to 1,261. The Nasdaq Composite gained 4 points to 2,666. A common theme this week is no major news to move the markets, not that money managers want to do anything drastic before year end. In the retail space, BJs and Childrens Place are higher on rumors of takeover speculation. Sears is jumping 6% on no news. Foot Locker is up a percent on an upgrade. The commodities continue to push higher, particularly the fertilizers. Noble Energy is up 3% after discovering natural gas in Israel. Noble also received an upgrade. Pride International is also higher on an upgrade. In the tech space, Yahoo and Google are higher on upgrades. Fairchild Semi is higher on an upgrade. IBM and Apple also look good. The financials opened mixed this morning. Bank of America, GE, and Goldman Sachs are higher, but the other big banks are modestly lower. Morgan Stanley is modestly lower after having its estimates cut this morning. After the first half an hour the averages remain strong near the highs of the day. Gold and silver are hitting new highs for the day. The rare earth stocks are trading higher once again. In the afternoon the Dow remained in the green, but off the highs. The financials are now all in the red. The Nasdaq remains in the green as many techs hold their gains. The commodities are also performing well. Fertilizer stocks Agrium, Potash, CF Industries, and Mosaic all made new 52 week highs today. In the last hour the rally fizzled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 9 points at 11,585, while the S&P 500 Index added a point to 1,259. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4 points to 2666.
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