Dow hits 13,000 as stocks rally

@CNNMoneyInvest July 27, 2012: 4:40 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks rallied Friday on hopes that central banks in Europe and the United States will take steps to support the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 188 points, or 1.5%, to end above the 13,000 mark, a psychologically important level it has not crossed since early May.

The S&P 500 added 26 points, or 1.9%, and the Nasdaq gained 65 points, or 2.2%.

The major indexes are all ended higher for the week. The Dow rose 2% for the week, the S&P added 1.7% and the Nasdaq gained 1.1%.

Friday's rally was driven mainly by "chatter" the European Central Bank will intervene in the bond market to ease borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

"Stocks are moving higher on the hopes that we finally will see some action to stabilize the situation in Europe," said Cardillo.

French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint statement Friday that they are "committed to do everything to protect the eurozone." ECB president Mario Draghi said Thursday that the bank will do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro.

Draghi will meet this weekend with officials from the German central bank, which has resisted buying bonds in the secondary market, ahead of next week's policy meeting, according to Bloomberg. The wire service said Draghi is pushing a plan to buy bonds, lower interest rates and offer additional liquidity to European banks.

Meanwhile, investors also responded to the latest U.S. economic data and corporate reports.

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.5% annual rate in the second quarter of 2012, down from a 2% rate in the first three months of the year, according to the government.

While the report was slightly better than expected, the outlook for growth remains lackluster as the weak job market curtails consumer spending. Many traders expect the Federal Reserve, which also meets next week, to take additional steps to stimulate growth.

"We've learned that you never fight the Fed when they want to get something done and have the ammunition to do it," said Anthony Conroy, head trader at BNY ConvergEx Group.

Economy: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 72.3 in July from 73.2 in June. It was the lowest level since December.

Economists had expected the index to remain unchanged in July at 72, according to a survey of analysts by

Companies: Facebook (FB) shares fell to an all-time low after the social network company's first quarterly earnings release as a public company. Facebook beat analysts' revenue expectations slightly and earnings matched forecasts, but that was apparently not enough for Wall Street.

Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) shares also tumbled after quarterly earnings that missed analysts' expectations.

Expedia (EXPE) shares surged after the online travel booking company reported strong quarterly results.

Despite reporting mixed quarterly results and a disappointing outlook, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) shares moved higher as investors focused on the online retailer's long-term growth prospects.

Shares of Barclays (BCS) gained after the bank apologized for the Libor scandal while reporting a $6.3 billion profit for the first half of 2012.

Merck (MRK, Fortune 500) shares rose after the pharmaceutical company beat earnings and sales expectations and affirmed its outlook for the year.

Del Frisco's (DFRG), a high-end steakhouse chain, raised $75 million in its initial public offering late Thursday, as shares priced at $13, below the range of $14 to $16. The stock finished its first day on the Nasdaq unchanged.

World markets: European markets closed higher. Britain's FTSE 100 rose nearly 1%, the DAX in Germany gained 1.6%, while France's CAC 40 surged 2.2%.

Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.1%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 2% and Japan's Nikkei added 1.5%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for September delivery rose 70 cents to $90.09 a barrel.

Gold futures for August delivery rose $2.90 to $1,618 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.51% from 1.43% late Thursday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,600.03 -387.44 -1.55%
Nasdaq 7,644.13 -102.89 -1.33%
S&P 500 2,745.88 -27.87 -1.00%
Treasuries 2.88 -0.05 -1.61%
Data as of 10:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Advanced Micro Devic... 16.48 -0.63 -3.65%
AT&T Inc 32.42 0.23 0.71%
Bank of America Corp... 29.01 -0.39 -1.33%
General Electric Co 12.92 -0.29 -2.16%
Twitter Inc 44.12 -1.88 -4.09%
Data as of 10:20am ET
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5/1 ARM4.21%4.20%
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