A stock market gaining confidence in the nation's financial system bolted higher today, propelling the Dow Jones industrials and Standard & Poor's 500 index to their first four-day advance since last spring.

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NEW YORK — Wall Street accomplished a feat today that seemed impossible just a week ago, rallying and propelling the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index to their fourth straight winning sessions. Investors’ growing confidence in the nation’s financial system fed this latest advance.

At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 247.14, or 2.9 percent, at 8,726.61. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 30.29, or 3.5 percent, to 887.68, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was up 67.37, or 4.6 percent, to 1,532.10.

The market reversed losses from earlier in the session today after President-elect 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, Obama stated that “help is on the way.”

Obama’s remarks were calming after the day’s economic reports, which pointed to more weakness. The government reported unemployment at recessionary levels, new home sales at their lowest level in nearly 18 years, another plunge in consumer spending, and factory orders for big-ticket items down by the largest amount in two years.

The major indexes built on their gains through the afternoon, but analysts cautioned that this latest advance came on light preholiday volume.

“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-head of equity trading at Themis Trading.

Still, the market was putting together a string of advances that seemed impossible to achieve in the depths of selling that began in mid-September after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

“Sentiment has turned slightly more positive over the past few days with some of the government packages in the U.S. and the stimulus programs that have been announced,” said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group. “That might help turn the tide.”