The major averages open higher after the government extends aid to GMAC to the tune of $5 billion now that it's a bank holding company. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 62 points to 8,547. GM is up 7% on the GMAC news. The S&P 500 index rose 4 points to 874 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 10 points to 1,520. Not much news out this morning other than more disappointing economic data including poor housing data and a huge drop in consumer confidence. Dow Chemical was the dog yesterday after losing a big contract to Kuwait. Today, Dow is struggling to find financing to keep the merger with Rohm & Haas in tact. Yum Brands is seeing a nice bounce thanks to an upgrade. The news in the retail sector is not getting any better. The Financial Times believes that 200,000 retailers may shut their doors next year and 3,000 malls may file for bankrupcty in 2009. The financials are lower. The sector as a whole will report a quarterly loss for the first time since 1990. The commodities opened higher, but then sold off. Oil reversed course. Through the first hour the averages remained in the green holding firm on light volume. Most investors just want the year to end. The Japanese and German markets closed out their books for the year this morning, both dropping over 40%. Through the morning the averages kept improving. Entering the lunch hour and then the las hour, the Dow was up over 100 points. The Nasdaq improved by 28 points. In the last hour the averages kept improving on light volume. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 184 points, or 2.2%, at 8,668. The S&P 500 index rose 21 points, or 2.4%, to 890, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 40 points, or 2.7%, to 1,550.
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