US STOCKS-Wall St gains on earnings, economic optimism

* Barclays posts better-than-expected results

* Dollar weakness helps commodity-related shares

* Empire state manufacturing data jumps on inventories

* Stocks up: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to afternoon, changes quotes, byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Tuesday as
the latest batch of earnings and regional manufacturing data
brightened the economic outlook and enticed investors back into
equities.

Shares related to U.S. dollar-priced commodities rose the
most as the greenback fell against the euro and Swiss franc.
Oil futures (CLc1: ) jumped nearly 4 percent to about $77 per
barrel. The CRB commodities index (.CRB: ) rose 2.7 percent, its
largest daily percentage advance in three months.

Energy company Chevron Corp (CVX.N: ) rose 2.3 percent at
$72.67.

Shares of Merck & Co (MRK.N: ) gained 3 percent to $38.03
after the drugmaker posted quarterly revenue above analysts’
estimates. For details, see [ID:nN16209312]

“Earnings have been strong and people are starting to
believe the recovery we’re seeing in the economy is real,” said
Angel Mata, managing director of listed equity trading at
Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.

“There’s more of a fear that investors will miss the next
move up, as opposed to not being involved and watching the
market go down.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 115.11
points, or 1.14 percent, to 10,214.25. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 13.97 points, or 1.30 percent, to
1,089.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) advanced 21.47
points, or 0.98 percent, to 2,205.00.

Also helping sentiment, the New York Federal Reserve’s
gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose more than
expected in February as inventories jumped.

Simon Property Group Inc (SPG.N: ) said it made a $10 billion
offer for General Growth Properties Inc (GGWPQ.PK: ) , boosting
optimism in the battered commercial real estate market in a
combination of the two largest U.S. shopping mall owners. Simon
shares rose 3.9 percent to $74.80. For details see
[ID:nN16210579], [ID:nRTV76555] and [ID:nN16220699].

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: ) will buy the non-U.S. assets of
commodities joint venture RBS Sempra from Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L: ) (RBS.N: ) and Sempra Energy (SRE.N: ) for $1.7
billion in cash, roughly doubling its commodities client base
and making the second-largest U.S. bank by assets even bigger.
[ID:nLDE61F1HV].

Financial stocks got a boost from Britain’s Barclays Plc
(BARC.L: ) (BCS.N: ), which said it nearly doubled profits in 2009
to $18.2 billion.

JPMorgan shares jumped 2.2 percent to $39.81 and the KBW
bank index (.BKX: ) rose 2.5 percent.

Southern Company’s (SO.N: ) shares rose 1.5 percent to $31.63
after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a loan guarantees
of $8 billion to build the first U.S. nuclear plant in nearly
three decades, saying the United States will not achieve a
boost in nuclear capacity without incentives to make “clean”
energy profitable. [ID:nN16224693]

Southern subsidiary Georgia Power received the guarantees.
The Market Vector Nuclear Energy ETF (NLR.P: ) rose 2.5 percent
to $21.66.

On the Nasdaq, shares of chipmaker Intel (INTC.O: ) rose 1.5
percent to $20.73 after a brokerage raised its rating on the
stock.

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(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Wall St gains on earnings, economic optimism