- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wall Street rallied across the board today despite bad November sales news from the auto industry.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recouped about a third of its devastating 680-point plunge Monday — a drop of 7.7 percent, the 12th worst percentage decline in market history.

At the closing bell, the Dow was up 270 to 8419.09, or 3.31 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 51.73 to 1449.80, or 3.70 percent, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 32.60 to 848.81, or 3.99 percent.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 10.6 million vehicles for October was the worst in more than a quarter century and far below the 16 million vehicles sold a year earlier, Autodata Corp. reported.

In November, vehicle sales for General Motors plunged 41 percent, Chrysler dived 47 percent, Ford dropped 31 percent, Toyota sank 34 percent and Honda plummeted 32 percent.

Many analysts had expected better results for November because of aggressive sales and a drop in gasoline prices since July’s high, the Associated Press reported.

The sales numbers were released as the chiefs of the Big Three automakers made preparations for a second appearance before Congress later this week to ask for a bailout.

One sign of good news among the carmakers was a statement to the Associated Press by the head of Ford, Alan Mulally, indicating that his company has enough money to see it through next year. But Ford asked Congress for a $9 billion line of credit that it said it might not need.

Routine bargain hunting on Wall Street may have had much to do with the rising indexes.

“Markets got oversold yesterday and nobody wanted to get in the way when it was happening,” Art Hogan, the chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co., told CNNMoney.com. “Lo and behold, we woke up [today] and it looks like we created some bargains.”

The massive sell-off Monday wasn’t helped by a declaration from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which calls U.S. economic cycles, that the United States has been in a recession for a year.

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