US, European stocks advance on earnings

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. surged 25 percent and Time Warner Inc. added 1.3% after topping estimates.

SHARES TEL AVIV The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was closed for Yom Ha'atzma'ut. WALL STREET US stocks rose on Wednesday, driving the Standard & Poor's 500 Index toward a three-month high, as companies beating profit forecasts outnumbered those that trailed by 10-to-1 and investors speculated bank losses peaked. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. surged 25 percent and Time Warner Inc. added 1.3% after topping estimates, joining 19 other S&P 500 companies that exceeded projections. Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. advanced more than 5.8% after Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller upgraded its rating on banks for the first time since 2004. The market extended its advance after former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker said the economy doesn't need more stimulus. The S&P 500 rose 2.5% to 876.61 at 2:27 p.m. in New York as all 10 industry groups gained after government data showed consumer spending increased the most in two years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 193.78 points, or 2.4% to 8,210.73. EUROPE European stocks rose, leaving the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index poised for its biggest monthly gain on record, as company earnings showed profits are weathering the worst of the global recession. Siemens, Europe's largest engineering company, advanced 8.2% after reporting a steeper-than-estimated jump in earnings. Sanofi, France's biggest drugmaker, climbed 4.3% as first-quarter profit soared. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc rallied 13% after Morgan Stanley slashed its loss estimate for the UK lender. The Stoxx 600 added 1.9% to 197.28. The regional gauge has climbed 12% since March 31, the biggest monthly rally since data for the index started in 1987. National benchmark indexes rose in all 18 western European markets except Luxembourg. The UK's FTSE 100 increased 2.3% to 4,189.59. Germany's DAX gained 2.1% as the government forecast its economy will return to growth next year. France's CAC 40 rallied 2.2%. ASIA Asian stocks rose for the first time in three days, led by commodity and consumer-related companies, on optimism earnings are withstanding the global recession and as South Korean exports climbed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 2.8% at the close of trading, while South Korea's Kospi index climbed 2.9%. Taiwan's Taiex index advanced 0.3% as the government said it may act to buttress stocks against swine flu concerns. The Japanese market was shut for a holiday. CURRENCIES The dollar fell 1% to $1.3284 per euro from $1.3149. COMMODITIES Oil prices rose even though the US government reported that the country is consuming less than it has in years and inventories are bloated with the most surplus crude in nearly two decades. Benchmark crude for June delivery rose $1.03 cents to $50.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices rose for the first time in three days as the US economy's slump drove the dollar lower, enhancing the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold futures for June delivery rose $6.90, or 0.8%, to $900.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.