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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WALL STREET >>> Bulls Usher In 2011 With 93pts Gain & New Highs

Bullish Enthuiasm For New Year
Dow Soars To 2-year High

Wall Street flipped the calendar to 2011 with bullish enthusiasm on Monday as the Dow soared to fresh two-year highs in the wake of a wave of strong manufacturing reports from around the world.

Stocks hit the ground running in the first session of 2011, thanks to promising economic figures and a solid showing among the blue chips. Bolstering the bulls early on was the Institute of Supply Management's (ISM) index of manufacturing activity, which rose for the 17th straight month in December. Separately, the Commerce Department said construction spending revved 0.4% higher in November, besting economists' expectations for a more modest rise of 0.2%. Elsewhere, news that Bank of America Corp. (BAC) settled a dispute with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac added fuel to the blue chips' fire, while Goldman Sachs' (GS) $450 million Facebook investment stoked the bullish flames among financials. Against this backdrop, all three major market indexes extended their quest for multi-year highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) finishing north of 11,600 for the first time since September 2008.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,670.75) rallied as high as 11,711.47 – its loftiest intraday peak in 28 months – before pulling back in afternoon trading. Nevertheless, the blue chip barometer tacked on an impressive 93.24 points, or 0.8%, as all but five of its 30 components ended higher. Bank of America paced the advancers with a 6.4% rally, while Intel Corp. (INTC) bucked the trend with a loss of 0.9%; meanwhile, Merck (MRK) called the session a wash.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,271.87) touched a multi-year high of 1,276.17 – marking its first foray north of 1,270 since September 2008 – before settling with a slimmer gain of 14.2 points, or 1.1%. In similar fashion, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,691.52) skyrocketed as high as 2,704.86 – a three-year acme – in intraday trading before finishing with a gain of 38.6 points, or 1.5%. What's more, today marks the tech-rich index's best single-session performance since Dec. 1.

For every stock that fell, three rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 1.1 billion shares traded.

Oil Climb Above $92 @ 27-months High
Oil futures continued their recent climb today, as encouraging data both domestically and across the pond fueled hopes for increasing demand. Meanwhile, predictions for more cold weather also helped black gold higher. By the close, February-dated crude futures added 17 cents, or 0.2%, to end at $91.55 per barrel – the front-month contract's loftiest finish in 27 months.

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