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Wall Street opens higher after factory order rise

March 26, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — The stock market posted solid gains Wednesday after a late surge capped an extremely erratic session.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose as much as 203 points in response to upbeat economic data, then fell nearly 110 points in the afternoon before closing up nearly 90 points.

Factors lifting the market included a 3.4% jump last month in orders for durable goods. Analysts had forecast on average a 2% drop.

In addition, the number of new homes sold rose 4.7% in February, a reading that also confounded expectations of a decline.

Weak demand at an auction of government debt, however, stirred up worries about how easily the federal government will be able to raise money to fund its financial and economic rescue programs.

"There was a mix of good and bad news, and at the end of the day the good news won out," said Alan Skrainka, chief market strategist at Edward Jones. "It's a jumpy market."

The Dow climbed 89.94 points, or 1.2%, to 7,749.81, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.76 points, or 0.9%, to 813.88.

Since hitting 12-year lows March 9, the Dow is up 18% and the S&P is up 20%.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 12.43 points, or 0.8%, to 1,528.95. The Russell 2,000 small-cap index jumped 2.3%.

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