Stocks close at day's highs, thanks to China
UPDATED at 9:20 p.m. to fix Dow closing figure:
Stocks sprinted through the finish this afternoon, hitting their highs of the day in the last 30 minutes, as a muscular day-long rally closed out strongly. It was the best day for stocks in 10 months.
Financials and energy stocks led today's rally. BP, which is still trying to stop what is now the biggest oil spill in history, closed up 6.9 percent.
The rally began and was carried through the day by China's reaffirmed confidence in the European debt it holds, as the country shot down a rumor reported in the Financial Times that it was looking to dump its Euro debt.
The Dow soared 2.9 percent to close at 10,258.99. Amazingly, today's rally was so strong that it turned a terrible week positive. All but one of the Dow's 30 stocks gained today. Pharma firm Johnson and Johnson was the only loser.
The broader S&P 500 closed up 3.3 percent at 1,103.06.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 3.7 percent at 2,277.68.
The major indexes are still down between 7 and 8 percent for May, which has only two trading days left.
The dollar index dropped 1 percent, as it typically moves in opposite direction to stocks. The euro moved higher against the dollar.
Oil settled at its highest level in two weeks, at more than $74 per barrel.
Stocks retesting highs in afternoon
1:47 p.m.: Stocks are re-testing their highs for the day as the strong rally continues, thanks to China's backing of its European debt holdings.
The Dow is touching 10,200 and is up 2 percent.
The broader S&P 500 is up 2.4 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 2.9 percent.
President Obama is holding a news conference right now -- his first since last summer -- and it's being dominated by questions on the oil spill in the Gulf. Shares of energy companies -- such as ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and even BP, which is at this moment dumping mud and other refuse onto the oil spill in an attempt to cap it -- are up with the market.
The euro is trading up against the dollar, but is still low, selling at about $1.24.
Crude is up with the rally, as oil is selling for more than $74 per barrel.
Stocks extend rally at mid-day
11:22 a.m.: The stock rally is growing more muscular as the trading day continues, thanks to China's backing of Europe and a slight drop in new U.S. unemployment claims filed last week.
The Dow has climbed well back above the 10,000 mark, and is up 1.9 percent.
The broader S&P 500 is up 2.2 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 2.6 percent.
The rally has popped the price of oil, and crude is up sharply to $74 per barrel. Gold is trading higher, as well, and is back above $1,200 per ounce.
Stocks surge at opening
10:09 a.m.: Stocks are surging in early trading today, as China shot down rumors that it is considering dumping European debt.
In the first 45 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 1.7 percent.
The broader S&P 500 is up 2 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 2.3 percent.
The Financial Times reported that China was considering selling its European debt holdings because of the Continent's ongoing debt worries. If true, this would be a major blow to Europe and the euro, and even the rumor of it sparked big sell-offs in European and U.S. stocks.
But today, the agency that manages China's $2.5 trillion in foreign reserves said, no, the authoritarian state is keeping its European debt. That news cheered European markets, which are up 2 percent in Germany, England and France. It also goosed the euro, which is trading up against the dollar.
"Europe has been, and will be one of the major markets for investing China's exchange reserves," said SAFE, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in China. "We believe that with the joint efforts of the international community, the euro zone will be able to overcome its difficulties and maintain the steady and healthy development of European financial markets."
May 27, 2010; 9:20 PM ET
Categories: Wall Street
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