U.S. stocks rose again today, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbing to its highest level since 2007, as the world’s markets rallied due to the Federal Reserve’s bond-purchase program. The S&P 500 advanced 0.4% to close trading at 1,465.77 today in New York, paring an earlier gain of 1%. The gauge is up for the fourth straight day and closed at the highest level since Dec. 31, 2007, after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke announced asset purchases on Thursday to boost growth. All 10 groups in the S&P 500 rallied yesterday after the Federal Open Market Committee committed to buying bonds until theU.S.labor market recovers “substantially.” The central bank said it will expand its holdings of long-term securities with open-ended purchases of $40 billion of mortgage debt a month.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s third round of bond-buying ultimately could rival the size of its first huge quantitative easing measure, which widely was viewed as boosting growth. The Fed initially disappointed some investors on Thursday when it said it would buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month, since the amount is less than the $75 billion a month it bought in its second round of bond-buying, or the more than $100 billion a month in its first round. By comparison, the Fed’s initial round of quantitative easing, announced in November 2008 as the U.S. economy slumped into a deep recession, totaled $1.75 trillion.
Investors in Apple Inc. (AAPL) received additional good news when the company won a round against Samsung Electronics Co. in a case brought before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The case involves patented technology in the iPhone and iPad tablet computer, and marks the second U.S. legal victory in a month for Apple over its largest smartphone competitor. The judge’s findings follow a federal jury’s ruling in San Jose, Calif., on Aug. 24, when Apple was awarded more than $1 billion in damages. The jury found that Samsung copied the look and some features of the iPhone. The California jury rejected claims that Apple infringed other Samsung patents. This week’s decision by the judge in the ITC case concluded that there was no infringement of any of the four patents under review and that Samsung had not proven it had a domestic industry that used the patents, which is a requirement that is unique to the trade agency. The judge’s opinion will become public after both sides have a chance to redact confidential information from the documents that they provided in the case.