Wall Street Climbs on IMF Hopes, Goldman Earnings

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The markets got a boost from headlines suggesting the International Monetary Fund is looking to boost its firepower and better-than-expected quarterly earnings from financial titan Goldman Sachs.

Today's Markets

As of 12:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 51.8 points, or 0.42%, to 12534, the S&P 500 rose 7.2 points, or 0.56%, to 1301 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 23.1 points, or 0.84%, to 2751.

Wall Street has been off to a strong start so far this year, with the Dow presently sitting at its highest level since July.

Traders have been keeping a close eye on developments from Europe, where the debt crisis is still posing a serious threat to many world economies. The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it needs to raise its firepower by roughly $1 trillion in coming years, and plans to raise its lending capacity by $500 billion. However, the IMF said it is "exploring options on funding and will have no further comment until the necessary consultations with the Fund’s membership have been completed."

Also on the European front, the Greek government is still struggling to hash out a deal with creditors on the size of private-sector losses on its debt. The talks, which are resuming on Wednesday, fell through last week. If a deal can't be struck, it may lead to a Greek debt default when the country's next major payment comes due in March, analysts have said.

The euro rose 0.65% to $1.2819, while the U.S. dollar slipped 0.51% against six world currencies.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) posted a fourth-quarter profit of $1.84 a share on $6.1 billion in revenue. Analysts expected the investment banking giant to earn $1.24 on sales of $6.5 billion. Shares were up 2.3% in pre-market trading following the report.

Market participants also got a fresh read on wholesale inflation and industrial production on the day.

The Producer Price Index fell 0.1% in December from November, compared with expectations of a 0.1% gain. Excluding the more volatile food and energy components, core prices were up 0.3% on the month, a bigger increase than the 0.1% economists forecast. Inflation at the producer level has jumped 4.8% from the year prior, or 3% on the core level.

The more closely-watched report on consumer prices is on tap for Thursday. Meanwhile, industrial production was up 0.4% in December from the month prior, slightly weaker than the 0.5% gain economists were looking for.

Commodities were mixed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 38 cents, or 0.41%, to $101.12 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline jumped 2.2% to $2.831 a gallon.

In metals, gold was unchanged at $1,655.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips fell 0.25%, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.15% to 5,702 and the German DAX climbed 0.34% to 6,355.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei rallied 0.99% to 8,551 and the Chinese Hang Seng climbed 0.3% to 19,687.