Stocks Ended Up for Third Day

U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday for a third day of gains, as investors jumped back into beaten-down financial shares and backed away from safer assets like gold in volatile trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 143.95 points, or 1.29%, to 11,320.71. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 15.25 points, or 1.31%, to 1,177.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 21.63 points, or 0.88%, to 2,467.69.

Gold futures dropped 5.6% Wednesday, their biggest one-day percentage drop since March 2008. Gold for December delivery dropped $104 to settle at $1,757.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil prices staged a small rally Wednesday on speculation of further monetary easing by the Federal Reserve and a decline in crude stockpiles. Brent crude oil for November delivery was rising 68 cents to $109.55 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for October delivery was adding 70 cents to $86.14.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on the economy and policy, at a time when both are shaky in the eyes of the markets. Bernanke’s Friday morning address in Jackson Hole, Wyo. has become one of the most discussed, debated and dissected of his career, even before he’s given it.

President Barack Obama is soliciting advice from the co-chairmen of his jobs council on employment boosting initiatives in advance of a major economics address he intends to deliver after Labor Day.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has bowed to economic reality, admitting its growth forecasts were overly rosy and announcing an euro11 billion ($16 billion) austerity package in a bid to ensure that France doesn’t miss a vital pledge to cut its deficit.

Bank of America Corp. has sent a memo to employees quashing speculation that it is in talks to merge with rival JPMorgan Chase. The bank called the speculation “baseless,” and said it didn’t “make practical sense.” The nation’s largest bank sent the memo on Tuesday as takeover talk swirled in the market after a few Internet blogs reported that it might be acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. In the memo, Bank of America also said the reports that it needs to raise at least $200 billion in additional capital to meet new regulatory capital requirements was also “wrong.”

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on a resolution releasing frozen Libyan assets in the U.S. to the rebels trying to oust Moammar Gadhafi. The U.S., Britain and the European Union have called for the quick release of assets to help the opposition National Transitional Council rebuild the Libyan economy, restore essential services, reform the police and the army, and pay government salaries.

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