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U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the highest level since May 2008, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said accommodative monetary policy is still needed to spur jobs.
Equities rose as Bernanke said in a speech in Arlington, Virginia, that while he’s encouraged by the unemployment rate’s decline, the economy still needs help. Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany may back plans for the temporary and permanent euro-area rescue funds to run in parallel. European finance ministers meet March 30 to discuss raising a 500 billion-euro ($664 billion) ceiling on the region’s financial firewall.
Dow 13,205.00 +124.27 +0.95%, Nasdaq 3,106.67 +38.75 +1.26%, S&P 500 1,410.47 +13.36 +0.96%
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. soared 21 percent, the most in the Russell 2000 Index, to $2.92. The weight-loss pill maker faces an advisory panel on May 10 as Food and Drug Administration staff said in a report today that obesity treatment manufacturers may need to study the heart risks of their medicines before U.S. regulators weigh approval.
Safeway Inc. declined 3.8 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $20.32. The grocer was cut to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse Group AG, meaning the firm expects the stock to perform in line with the market over the next 12 months.
A123 Systems Inc. tumbled 12 percent to $1.49. The maker of batteries for electric cars and trucks said it has started to replace “potentially defective” battery packs and modules produced at a Michigan plant.
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