Stocks rise as Summers withdraws chairman bid

Wall Street seemed happy to see Larry Summers go.

Stocks rose on Monday after Summers, who had been the leading candidate to replace Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, withdrew his name from consideration.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 118.72 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 15,494.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9.61 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,697.60. The Nasdaq composite fell 4.34 points, a fraction of a percent, to 3,717.85.

The benchmark oil contract for October delivery fell $1.62 to $106.59 a barrel in New York. The contract for November delivery for Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.63 to $110.07 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline fell 5.3 cents to $2.717 per gallon. Natural gas rose 6.1 cents to $3.738 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell 5 cents to $3.064 per gallon.

America’s super wealthy see their fortunes grow

Life is good for America’s super wealthy.

Forbes on Monday released its annual list of the top 400 richest Americans. While most of the top names and rankings didn’t change from a year ago, the majority of the elite club’s members saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.

The list’s minimum net income increased to a pre-financial crisis level of $1.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2012, with 61 American billionaires not making the cut.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates remains America’s richest man, taking the top spot on the list for the 20th straight year, with a net worth of $72 billion, up from $66 billion a year ago.

Increase in factory output reaches eight-month high

U.S. factories increased output in August by the most in eight months, helped by a robust month at auto plants. The gains are a hopeful sign that manufacturing could help boost economic growth in the second half of the year.

Manufacturing production rose 0.7 percent last month from July, the Federal Reserve said Monday. That’s the biggest increase since December. It followed a 0.4 percent decline in July.

Automakers increased production 5.2 percent, after a 4.5 percent decline in July. And factories stepped up production of other goods, including computers and electronics, furniture and business equipment.

Gap in employment rates stretches to widest levels

The gap in employment rates between America’s highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago, according to an analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press.

Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families — those earning less than $20,000 — have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.

U.S. households with income of more than $150,000 a year have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent.

– From news service reports