Investors guess Fed's actions, push stocks higher

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By CHRISTINA REXRODE, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market rose in early trading Monday, driven not by any new economic data but by investors counting on the Federal Reserve to extend programs meant to boost the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 158 points, or 1 percent, to 15,228 after the first half-hour of trading. All but two of the 30 stocks in the Dow rose, led by Cisco Systems, which gained 64 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $24.73.

With little in the way of big company announcements or economic reports, investors instead started guessing what the Fed will do when it begins a regularly scheduled two-day meeting on Tuesday.

The stock market's relation to the Fed is a bit of a paradox: The market was rising Monday because investors think Fed leaders will determine that the economy is still suffering. That might not sound like good news, but it would influence the Fed to continue the programs it has implemented to try to breathe life into the economy, like keeping interest rates low to encourage borrowing and buying bonds to push investors into stocks.

The action of the Fed, the central bank of the world's largest economy, carries weight around the globe: Stocks in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. also rose. Greece was an exception. Stocks were down in the debt-ridden country, where bickering is still reverberating over the prime minister's decision last week to shut down the state TV and radio broadcaster to try to save money.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped nearly 3 percent, extending Friday's gain of more than 2 percent. One reason why Japanese shares did so well was renewed weakness in the yen following a recent rally — a lower yen makes the country's exports more competitive.

In other U.S. stock trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 16, or 1 percent, to 1,643. The Nasdaq composite was up 35, or 1 percent, to 3,458.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.15 percent from 2.13 percent Friday.

The price of crude oil rose 32 cents to $98.17 a barrel in New York. Gold edged down $4 to $1,383 an ounce.

Among U.S. stocks making big moves:

—Pinnacle Entertainment jumped nearly 5 percent after announcing that it had moved closer to getting approval from regulators for its purchase of rival Ameristar Casinos. Pinnacle was up $1.11 to $19.96. Ameristar Casinos didn't enjoy quite the same boost: It was up 20 cents, less than 1 percent, to $26.40.

—SodaStream, which makes machines that let people make soda at home, was up 48 cents, less than 1 percent, to $73.30 after announcing that it would work with KitchenAid to sell an at-home carbonation system. Whirlpool, which makes KitchenAid products, rose $2.13, or 1.7 percent, to $131.37.

—Boeing was up after Qatar Airways and the aircraft leasing arm of General Electric both put in an orders for aircraft. Boeing rose $1.60, or 1.6 percent, to $103.43.

—Rexnord Corp., a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of power transmission and water management products, fell $1.29, or 7 percent, to $16.66. The company said its largest shareholder, Apollo Global Management, is selling part of its stake.

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