Most U.S. Stocks Gain
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.S. stocks gained, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a 15-month high, as financial shares rallied and a ninth day of gains in crude oil boosted energy companies.
Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) jumped 7.7% on speculation life insurers will need less money to cover losses from residential mortgage-backed securities. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX) paced gains in 33 of 39 S&P 500 energy companies as crude approached $82 a barrel on cold weather in the Northeast. Alcoa Inc. (AA) and Travelers Cos. (TRV) fell at least 2.4% to lead the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower.
"We think the market is on pretty solid footing for the next month or two," said Michael Mullaney, who manages $9 billion at Fiduciary Trust Co. in Boston. "The crystal ball beyond that becomes cloudy because we're still unconvinced we can go into a self-sustaining economy."
About eight stocks advanced for every seven that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 added 0.3% to 1,136.51 at 4:05 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 11.94 points, or 0.1%, to 10,572.02.
The S&P 500 climbed 23% last year, including a rebound of 65% from a 12-year low in March, after governments around the world enacted stimulus measures to end the recession. The biggest annual rally in six years left the measure trading at more than 24 times its companies' reported operating earnings, the most expensive level since 2002, according to Bloomberg data.
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