- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

NEW YORK | A stock market gaining confidence in the nation’s financial system bolted higher Wednesday, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to their first four-day advance since April.

The market reversed losses from earlier in the session after President-elect Barack Obama pledged he would have a plan to deal with the nation’s economic crisis on his first day in office. After filling more spots to his economic team, Mr. Obama stated that “help is on the way.”

The major indexes built on their gains through the afternoon, but analysts cautioned that this latest advance came on light pre-holiday volume. The Dow has gained 1,174 points, or 15.5 percent, during the past four days, and the S&P; 500 has gained 135, or 18 percent - giving both indicators their biggest four-day rise since the Great Depression.

“What we’re seeing in the market is basically a light-volume shrugging off of bad news, which is very encouraging in the short term,” said Sal Arnuk, co-founder of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC.

The government reported Wednesday that unemployment remained at recessionary levels, new home sales plunged to their lowest level in nearly 18 years, consumer spending plummeted and factory orders for big-ticket items declined by the largest amount in two years.

Yet the Dow industrials rose 247.14, or 2.91 percent, to 8,726.61. The Dow has not had four straight gains since April 15-18; its advance was its biggest since 1932, during the Great Depression.

Broader indicators also rose. The S&P; 500 advanced 30.29, or 3.53 percent, to 887.68; it last had a four-day winning streak May 27-30. Its rally was its largest since 1933.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 67.37, or 4.60 percent, to 1,532.10. The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies rose 25.45, or 5.74 percent, to 468.63.

Blue-chip stocks also went higher. Citigroup Inc., which received a bailout by the government this week to stabilize the bank, surged 97 cents, or 16 percent, to $7.05. Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. fell 2 cents to $63.16, while Chevron Corp. rose $3.40, or 4.4 percent, to $79.39.

Volume was about half of its normal level on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange - with 1.4 billion shares traded - which can exacerbate price movements.

The indexes remain far below the peaks they reached in October 2007. The Dow is down 38.39 percent, the S&P; 500 is down 43.28 percent, and the Nasdaq is off 46.41 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by 3 to 1 on the NYSE.

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