U.S. stocks on Monday started higher, extending the prior session's rally, thanks to overseas strength and more talks of economic stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 169 points to 8,804. 3M is one of the few Dow components trading lower after lowering guidance. The S&P 500 climbed 19 points to 895 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 31 points to 1,540. The insurance stocks had a nice jolt on Friday when Hartford raised guidance. Hartford continues its rally, up 20% today, on positive analyst comments. Metlife is up 4% after indicating they will beat estimates. Allstate is up 4% on positive comments. The commodities are performing well. Oil is higher on news Saudi Arabia will cut production. Dow Chemical is up 7% after announcing a restructuring. Chesapeake Energy is up 25% after scrapping plans to raise more equity. Instead, the natural gas firm will cut spending and sell assets. The financials are performing well even as the NY Post indicated Citigroup and Bank of America may need more capital next year. Many of these financials like GE, American Express, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo are pushing one month highs. After the first hour, the Dow was up 260 points. The Nasdaq rose 45 points. Pretty much everything looks good. Beaten up techs like Intel, Google, Apple, and Research in Motion are all higher. Google is back above the 300 level. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the Dow remained above 200 points even as 3M moves lower. GM and Ford are higher on anticipation of some money from Congress to get through the year-end. The averages briefly sold off after the Tribune filed for bankruptcy. Sam Zell bought the company for $8.2 billion a year ago, took them private, only to file for Chapter 11. Amazing. Shareholders got the better deal there. Entering the last hour the averages pushed to new highs with the Dow up over 300 points. The Nasdaq rose 60 points. In the last hour the Dow rose nearly 400 points above 9000 before pulling back. The Nasdaq rose 75 points before pulling back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 298 points, or 3.5%, to 8,934, its highest close since Nov. 7. The S&P 500 rose 33 points, or 3.8%, to 909, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 62 points, or 4.1%, to end at 1,571.
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