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Dow at two-week high on three-day rally

The NYSE trading floor saw a commodity yesterday that has been in short supply for more than a year: levity. The NYSE trading floor saw a commodity yesterday that has been in short supply for more than a year: levity. (Henny Ray Abrams/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 13, 2009
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NEW YORK - Investors have been clamoring for months for a bit of good news. Yesterday, they got a load of it.

The Dow Jones industrials shot up nearly 240 points to a two-week high of 7,170.06, bringing its gains over the past three days to 622 points, or 9.5 percent. It was the index's biggest three-day jump since last November.

Surprisingly positive signals this week from companies across all industries, particularly banks, have made traders think twice about continuing to drive stocks lower.

It's too soon to tell whether this week's upturn is the beginning of a bull market or simply a temporary rally within a bear market, but either way there has been a pronounced change in Wall Street's tone.

"How all this turned around in a week, I don't know," said Scott Bleier, president of CreateCapital Advisors. "But it's certainly a better outlook than how it looked two weeks ago."

The rally got an extra dose of adrenaline yesterday after an accounting board told Congress it may recommend an easing in financial reporting rules of tough-to-sell assets - a change that banks say would help their bottom lines. Upheaval in the banking industry has been dogging the market since 2007, and hope that banks might finally get relief in how they value their bad assets spurred a flurry of buying on Wall Street.

"We might find that the banks are not as bad, or not bad at all, if these assets are marked differently," said Doreen Mogavero, president of the New York floor brokerage Mogavero, Lee & Co.

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