Rally pushes stocks higher to end year's first positive month

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Despite poor consumer confidence readings and lackluster data from the Chicago Purchasing Managers, stocks jumped back from yesterday's big sell-off, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 87 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,609. The bad news for investors: The markets had a another negative quarter. But. on the bright side, March was a positive month for the broad index readings. Finally.

Financial stocks, including Citigroup (C), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and American Express (AXP), performed well, as did Alcoa (AA). New General Motors (GM) CEO Fritz Henderson said bankruptcy has become "more probable" for the automaker, pushing its shares to the biggest loss among Dow component stocks.




Amazon (AMZN) followed yesterday's gains. This was one of the few gainers during yesterday's "sell everything" session and was one of the quarter-end mark-up stocks for window dressing traders. Shares were up 3.4% at $73.87 late in the day.

Bank of America (BAC) was trading up over 13% at $6.83 late in the day. The talk again was changes to the "mark to market" accounting rules that may be coming Thursday. Ken Lewis also fielded some email questions to help the cause.

Ford (F) has decided to adopt a similar ad strategy like Hyundai. It has its own new "job protection" and zero-percent loan crafted after the Korean car company's. Shares were actually down almost 2% at $2.71 shortly before the close.

Google (GOOG) rose after Merriman Curhan Ford raised the search giant to a Buy from Neutral. The company also announced a venture capital arm of $100 million where Google plans to invest in fledgling companies. Shares were up 2.5% at $351.47 ahead of the close.

The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) had a solid day after more details came out about a YouTube partnership and hopes of a broader Hulu partnership. It looks like the logic is that Disney can put the content online and make money off it, or online pirates can put the content online and Disney can make nothing. Shares were up almost 3% at $18.34 shortly ahead of the close.
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