Wall Street gets lift from Yellen remarks, techs rebound
US stocks rose on today, with the S&P 500 ending both March and the first quarter of 2014 with gains, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen calmed concerns about a rate hike coming earlier than expected.
At the end of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 134.60 points, or 0.82 percent, to 16,457.66; the S&P 500 added 14.72 points, or 0.79 percent, to 1,872.34; the Nasdaq Composite gained 43.24 points, or 1.04 percent, to 4,198.99.
Milan-listed shares outperformed skittish European bourses, helping a euro zone index touch a 5-1/2 year peak as the market welcomed signs that smaller Italian lenders are boosting their capital and winning over international investors.
Broader sentiment was also supported by expectations of new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank, cemented by lower-than-forecast euro zone inflation data, although some portfolio rebalancing at the end of the first quarter triggered a late selloff.
A raft of price target upgrades by investment banks boosted Italian lender Intesa Sanpaolo, which added 2.4 percent to feature among top risers on the Euro STOXX 50 index index.
The euro zone blue chip index hit its highest level since 2008 at 3,185.68 points before succumbing to some quarter-end profit taking to end 0.3 percent lower at 3,161.60 points. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,333.55 points, taking its quarterly gains to 1.3 percent.
Japan's Nikkei share average hit a three-week closing high with exporters leading the way on a weaker yen, but The index posted its worst quarterly performance in nearly two years.
The benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.9 percent to 14,827.83, its highest level since March 12. On the quarter, however, the index shed 9 percent to mark its first quarterly decline in 1-1/2 years and the worst quarterly performance in seven quarters.