As reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Cheng and Kristina, stocks had their best month of the year in April, as strong corporate earnings and the promise of continued low interest rates persuaded investors to make risky bets on small-company shares and volatile commodities.
After struggling for two months on concerns about economic growth, the earthquake in Japan and rising inflation, the market embraced surging corporate profits and rising consumer demand to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 490.81 points in April, nearly 4%, to 12810.54, its highest close since May 2008. The Dow is now less than 10% from its record close, set in October 2007.
Particularly encouraging for market bulls: Two indexes closely watched as barometers of the economy climbed to new highs.
The biggest winners of the month were precious metals, with gold soaring to a record high of $1,556 per troy ounce. Silver rocketed 28% higher and is now just 0.2% off a record high that dates to January 1980. Industrial metals such as aluminum and agricultural commodities, including coffee and corn, have also surged.