March 17th, 2010
04:29 PM ET

Wall Street at 2010 highs

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks advance

Stocks advanced Wednesday afternoon, with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all touching fresh 2010 highs after the U.S. and Japanese central banks chose to keep interest rates low and the Senate passed a key jobs bill.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 44 points, or 0.4 percent, rising as high as 10,767.98 and surpassing the 2010 closing high of 10,725.43 hit on Jan. 19. Should the Dow close above that level, it would be at an almost 18-month peak.

The S&P 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.5 percent, and was on track to close at its highest point since Sept. 26, 2008. The Nasdaq composite gained 10 points, or 0.5 percent, and was on track to close at its highest point since Aug. 28, 2008.       

Stocks were moderately higher in the morning, but picked up the pace in the afternoon after the Senate passed a key jobs bill and the dollar's weakness sparked a rally in commodity prices and stocks.

Dollar mixed after rate decisions

The dollar slipped versus the yen and the pound but rose against the euro after the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve each left interest rates unchanged near zero.

What prices are doing: The dollar rose 0.2% versus the euro to $1.3733 and dipped 0.5 percent against the British pound to $1.5319. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell 0.07% to ¥90.24.

Oil rises on low inflation, upbeat Fed

Oil prices jumped after the weekly government energy inventory report showed supplies of crude were worse than analysts had expected.

What prices are doing: Crude prices soared $1.23 to settle at $82.93 a barrel. What's moving the market: Prices climbed, as the market responded to a spate of government reports on Wednesday.

Treasurys flat, as stocks gain

Treasury markets were flat  a day after the Fed's announcement on interest rates. Fed policymakers revealed no surprises when they said they'll continue to keep the federal funds rate near 0 percent for an extended period.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note was flat at 99-26/32, with its yield at 3.653 percent. The 30-year bond fell 3/32 to 100-22/32 and its yield rose to 4.584 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 2-year note fell 1/32 to 99-29/32 with a yield of 0.936 percent. The 5-year note fell 3/32 to 100-1/32 with a yield of 2.372 percent.

What's moving the market: Stocks gained after investors let the Fed's news - or rather, lack of news - soak in. Although the Fed decided to maintain historically low interest rates, the central bank also noted that the U.S. economy is improving.

CNNMoney.com reporters Blake Ellis, Chavon Sutton, Alexandra Twin and Annalyn Censky contributed to this report.

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