Consumer confidence spreads to stocks, pushing Dow higher

Surprises move markets, which helps explain why today's May consumer confidence reading had the power to push the Dow Jones industrial average up 196 points, or 2.4 percent, to close at 8,473. The Conference Board's gauge of consumer sentiment jumped sharply, annihilating economists' forecasts and providing traders with a sign that a recovery might not be far off. Or so you could argue.

Meanwhile, everyone knows that housing is still in the dumps. So the news that home prices fell at a record pace in the first three months of this year was less of a shock and didn't exert much of a downward tug on stocks.

Among the Dow's 30 component stocks, only Bank of America (BAC) and Coca Cola (KO) fell. For more on other stocks making moves, be sure to check out BloggingStocks' market wrap up.
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