U.S. stocks open solidly higher thanks to a memo from the CEO of Citigroup to employees stating that the financial giant was profitable in the first two months of the year and is having its best quarter in over a year and a half. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 128 points to 6,675. The S&P 500 Index added 17 points to 694, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 29 points to 1,298. Citigroup and the rest of the financials look good although Meredith Whitney remains as bearish as ever. On the earnings front, Krogers and Dicks are higher after beating estimates. Walmart and Best Buy are higher even though both were downgraded. The techs are performing well. Texas Instruments is up 3% on in line guidance. The healthcare sector is higher. Aetna provided in line guidance yesterday. Cigna provided in line guidance this morning. Both are higher by 8%. After the first half an hour, the averages were surging. The Dow jumped 230 points. The Nasdaq rose 51 points. After the first hour, the averages remained strong actually pushing to new highs. The only thing trading lower is gold. Fed Chairman, Bernanke repeated this morning that until the banking system recovers, a sustainable economic recovery will remain out of reach. He also dispelled rumors of getting rid of mark to marketing. Senator Shelby also made similar comments. Entering the lunch hour, the Dow jumped 300 points on comments from Congressman Barney Frank indicating they may ease the rules on mark to marketing and also bring back the uptick rule within the month. Translation, the shorts have to cover. In the afternoon the averages remained strong not far from the highs of the day. In the last hour the averages kept surging. The Dow Industrials finished up 379 points or 5.8% at 6,926. The S&P 500 Index gained 43 points, or 6.4%, to close at 719, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 89 points, or 7.1%, to 1,358. We need a few more up days.
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