U.S. stocks surged at Thursday's start, bolstered by optimism the economy is hopefully bottoming and accounting standards for banks will be eased. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 144 points to 7,906. The S&P 500 climbed 18 points to 829, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 28 points to 1,579. The financials are jumping on the start thanks to expectations FASB will ease rules regarding mark to marketing of illiquid assets. Bank of America is up 7% as CEO Ken Lewis is making comments to ease concerns about the stability of his company. Deutsche Bank is up 11% as comments from the company imply that revenue remains solid. KB Homes and Pulte Homes are modestly higher even though both were downgraded. The tech stocks are performing well. Amazon is up 1.5% even though the stock was downgraded. On the earnings front, Monsanto is higher after beating expectations. Rite Aid and CarMax are also higher following earnings. The commodities are jumping. The price of oil is up $3 above $50 a barrel. After the first hour, the averages remained strong with the Dow jumping 200 points. The Nasdaq was up 47 points. Through the morning the averages kept improving. The financials pulled back from their highs after FASB confirmed they would ease the accounting standards. Morgan Stanley actually fell into the red, then JP Morgan fell into the red. Other sectors like the retailers and techs look great. Commodities are performing well except for gold. In the afternoon, more of the same. The averages remained strong, but most of the financials are giving up their gains. Entering the last hour, the Dow was moving back toward the highs of the day back above 8000. The Nasdaq is up 60 points back in positive territory for the year. In the last hour, we witnessed a little profit-taking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 216 points, or 2.8%, to finish at 7,978, its highest close since Feb. 9. The S&P 500 gained 23 points, or 2.9%, to 834, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 51 points, or 3.3%, to 1,602.
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