Visa, the world’s largest payment-processing company, turned in quarterly earnings late Wednesday that topped Wall Street’s forecasts and announced plans to spend as much as $5 billion on buying its own shares. Visa’s stock gained $21.99 to $236.65.
For investors, there was plenty of encouraging news. Before the market opened, the government said that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the three months ending in September, powered by more business investment, sales abroad and the biggest jump in military spending in five years.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 12.35 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 1,994.65. The Nasdaq composite rose 16.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,566.14.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged 221.11 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,195.42. Unlike other market measures, the Dow weighs its roster of 30 large corporations by their stock prices rather than by their market size. That means companies with the most expensive stocks, such as Visa and Goldman Sachs, have more power to drive the average up or down.
The world’s second-largest card-payment company, MasterCard, said its third-quarter profit surged as Americans appeared less hesitant to use their debit and credit cards. The results beat Wall Street’s expectations, propelling MasterCard’s stock up $7.14, or 9 percent, to $83.13.
Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, saw a number of optimistic signs for the market. Reports that Visa and MasterCard are handling more transactions could mean that Americans will be more likely to open their wallets during the year-end shopping season. What’s more, the market is approaching a stretch that nearly always rewards investors.
BorgWarner, a maker of car parts, said a slide in the value of foreign currencies against the dollar will hamper its results this year. The company, which operates in 19 countries, cut its forecast for full-year profits and sales. BorgWarner slumped $2.49, or 4 percent, to $54.37.
In Europe, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent and Germany’s DAX edged up 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent.
Back in the U.S., the price of the 10-year Treasury note edged up, and its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, slipped to 2.31 percent from 2.32 percent late Wednesday.
Gold lost $26.30 to settle at $1,198.60 an ounce, silver fell 84 cents to $16.42 an ounce and copper fell four cents to $3.06 a pound.
In other commodity trading, the price of oil fell as the dollar strengthened, making oil priced in dollars less attractive to overseas buyers. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.08 to close at $81.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 88 cents to close at $86.24 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the NYMEX:
– Wholesale gasoline fell 2.5 cents to close at $2.196 a gallon.
– Heating oil fell 2.2 cents to close at $2.513 a gallon.
– Natural gas rose 3.9 cents to close at $3.827 per 1,000 cubic feet.