For first time since January, Dow breaches 9,000

Yet another day of better-than-expected quarterly earnings and fresh housing data evidently gave investors confidence that the worst of the recession is in the past, and they responded by pushing the Dow Jones industrial average above 9,000 for the first time since January. AT&T (T), EBay (EBAY) and Ford (F) reported results that surpassed analysts' estimates.

The DJIA rose 188 points, or 2.1 percent, to close at 9,069 as DuPont (DD), Alcoa (AA), Caterpillar (CAT) and 3M (MMM) surged, reflecting optimism that manufacturing and construction will will pick up.