Hopeful economic indicators outweighed surging crude prices today, and stocks responded with a modest rally. "There's a little bit of investor optimism cropping up here to hold the market together," a strategist told the Wall Street Journal. The Dow ended up 60.41 at 12,362.47, the Nasdaq up 10.22 at 2,286.04, and the S&P 500 up 6.11 at 1,334.43.
In general, business and manufacturing indicators led investors to speculate that another Fed rate cut is on its way, despite worries about inflation. Some economists tell the Journal that the inflation stems from government-mandated production of ethanol. "This is not the way you get true inflation," said one.