Positive words on banks send stocks to biggest gain this year

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said regulators would "take any necessary and appropriate steps" to shore up the financial system. Citigroup (C) CEO Vikram Pandit said his company was profitable during the first two months of this year. And stocks rallied the most this year, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 379 points, or 5.8 percent, to 6,926.

Bank stocks led the way. Citi surged 38 percent, Bank of America (BAC) climbed 28 percent and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) rose 23 percent. And General Electric (GE) continued its resurgence, gaining nearly 20 percent. All 30 Dow component stocks gained, but McDonalds (MCD) and Coca Cola (KO) trailed the market, rising just 0.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.