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Market skyrockets on bank aid pledge


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NEW YORK » Wall Street stormed back yesterday from last week's devastating losses, sending the Dow Jones industrials soaring a nearly inconceivable 936 points after major governments' plans to support the global banking system reassured distraught investors. All the major indexes rose more than 11 percent.

The market was expected to rebound after eight days of precipitous losses that took the Dow down nearly 2,400 points, but few expected this kind of advance, which saw the Dow by far outstrip its previous record one-day point gain, 499.19, set during the waning days of the dot-com boom. The Standard & Poor's 500 index also set a record for a one-day point gains.

The market did appear to take heart when the Bush administration said it is moving quickly to implement its $700 billion rescue program, including consulting with law firms about the mechanics of buying ownership shares in a broad number of banks to help revive the stagnant credit markets and in turn get the economy moving again.

Neel Kashkari, the assistant Treasury secretary who is interim head of the program, said in a speech yesterday officials were also developing guidelines to govern the purchase of soured mortgage-related assets.

The Dow rose 936.42, or 11.08 percent, to 9,387.61. The Dow's previous record for a one-day point gain was 499.19, or 4.93 percent, on March 16, 2000.

Broader stock indicators also jumped yesterday. The S&P 500 index advanced 104.13, or 11.58 percent, to 1,003.35; it was the biggest point gain ever for the S&P 500, eclipsing the 66.33, or 4.76 percent, jump it had on March 16, 2000. It was the biggest percentage gain for the index since March 15, 1933, when it surged 16.6 percent.

The Nasdaq rose 194.74, or 11.81 percent, to 1,844.25, its 10th biggest point gain; during the dot-com boom, the index soared as much as 324.83 in one day.

Its percentage gain yesterday was second to the 14.2 percent logged Jan. 3, 2001, the same day that the Nasdaq set its record for a one-day point gain.

About 3,030 stocks advanced on the New York Stock Exchange, while only about 160 declined - a reversal from last week, when declining stocks overwhelmed the gainers. But the trading volume of 1.82 billion shares was lighter than it had been last week, suggesting there was less conviction in the buying than during last week's selling.

Wall Street was cheered by word from the Bank of England that it would use up to $63 billion to help the three largest British banks strengthen their balance sheets.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Light, sweet crude rose $3.49 to $81.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after oil fell to its lowest level in 13 months last week.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 48.41, or 9.27 percent, to 570.89.