Stocks surge as profits at Wells Fargo jump

Stephen Bernard and Tim Paradis, AP Business Writers
Thursday April 9, 2009, 11:53 am EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are bounding higher after banking giant Wells Fargo & Co. issued a surprise profit announcement that was far above analysts’ estimates.

Investors have been grasping at any sign of improvement in the crippled banking sector. Wells Fargo’s report early Thursday that it expects first-quarter earnings of $3 billion is providing an encouraging sign that a deep freeze in bank lending may finally be beginning to thaw.

The market’s surge is being led by banking shares, including Wells Fargo, which is up 18 percent.

At midday, the Dow Jones industrials are up 145 at 7,982. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 18 to 843, and the Nasdaq composite index is up 41 to 1,632.

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