Thursday, March 15, 2012

Financial Markets Recover to Pre-Crash Levels

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed above 1,400 for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis on Thursday as stocks resumed the upward climb that has produced a steady stream of gains this year.

The benchmark index is up for six of the past seven sessions and is on target for its best week since early February. Financial stocks <.GSPF>, which have dragged lately, led the day with the S&P sector index up 1.9 percent as another round of better-than-expected economic data bolstered investors' enthusiasm.

"The data is lifting us today, but so is the momentum of the market," said Rex Macey, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust in Atlanta, Georgia, which manages about $60 billion.

"People are getting more comfortable with the S&P above 1,400 and financials leading, which by itself is indicative of a sigh of relief. The trend is your friend, and lately the trend has been higher."

Though 1,400, which marks the highest level for the index since June 2008, does not have much technical importance, it is viewed as a bullish psychological marker.
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