After suffering the worst drubbing in its 112-year history last week, the Dow Jones industrial average leapt more than 900 points Monday; its biggest one-day point gain; as investors reacted to aggressive steps by central banks to shore up the global banking system.

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NEW YORK — But can it last?

After suffering the worst drubbing in its 112-year history last week, the Dow Jones industrial average leapt more than 900 points Monday — its biggest one-day point gain — as investors reacted to aggressive steps by central banks to shore up the global banking system.

The Dow closed up 936.42, or 11.1 percent, at 9,387.61. Dow component Microsoft gained $4, or 18.6 percent, to $25.50. Boeing rallied $5.28, or 12.6 percent, to $47.08.

Broader stock indicators also jumped. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 104.13, or 11.6 percent, to 1,003.35 and the Nasdaq composite index soared 194.74, or 11.8 percent, to 1,844.25.

In a period in which the markets are setting records almost daily, it was another day of superlatives.

The Dow had its biggest percentage increase since 1932, topping its 10.2 percent gain two days after the infamous crash in October 1987. The blue-chip indicator easily surpassed its prior record for a one-day point gain of 499 in 2000.

But doubts lingered about whether the rally would have staying power, especially given the troubles afflicting global credit markets and the U.S. economy.

Some fretted it could be what Wall Street likes to call a “sucker’s rally” — a big gain in a bear market that gets investors’ hopes up, only to dash them with further declines.

“There’s just so much more that has to be remedied … that it’s unlikely that we’ve hit bottom,” said Bill King, market strategist at M. Ramsey King Securities in Burr Ridge, Ill. “We haven’t seen the economic ramifications of all this financial destruction — and we will.”

For at least one day, though, investors had reason to cheer. They piled into stocks after European governments emerged from emergency weekend meetings to pledge guarantees for interbank lending and establish direct equity stakes in battered financial institutions.

The U.S. government is expected today to reveal details of its own plan — first announced in broad form Friday — to take equity positions in U.S. banks and of its other measures to shore up the nation’s troubled financial system.

Another boost today?

Details that leaked Monday night hinted at a European-style approach of stronger protections, which could boost stocks again today.

Monday, the Dow rocketed up 936.42 points, erasing half of last week’s 18 percent loss.

That easily topped the widely watched average’s previous record of 499 points in one day, and it marked the biggest percentage increase since the depths of the Great Depression in 1933 — even topping the 10.2 percent gain two days after 1987’s infamous crash.

On the New York Stock Exchange, winners outnumbered losers 19 to 1.

The rally was “an upward thrust of massive proportion that indicates to me that the market has had a huge dose of oxygen,” said David Kotok, chief investment officer of money manager Cumberland Advisors in Vineland, N.J.

“It’s likely the market will be volatile but will head higher for the rest of the year.”

From its intraday low Friday, the Dow rebounded more than 1,500 points Monday. That prompted some analysts to conclude the market was near its bottom — the point where all sellers have gotten out and buyers have moved in, setting the stage for a sustained advance.

Other market watchers, however, echoed King’s concern that the rally could be little more than a one- or two-day affair.

Throughout the housing crisis and credit crunch that began last year, the market has had several explosive one-day rallies, only to see them overwhelmed by renewed waves of selling when problems in the financial system and the economy proved intractable.

“The essential problems in the market are with the credit market,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, N.J.

“Irrational beast”

“The stock market is an irrational beast that goes on through the day playing off fear and emotion.”

Although government efforts fell short of the unified global approach many had hoped for, investors were encouraged by the idea of injecting capital directly into banks.

“The latest moves have met the market’s approval, which is something the other moves couldn’t do,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “It feels great to be able to watch the market and see it go up substantially.”

Staff writer Tom Petruno contributed to this report.

The Dow’s biggest gains
Here are the 10 largest point and percentage gains for the Dow Jones industrial average since the index launched in 1896:
Biggest point gains
Date Points Percent Close
Monday 936.42 11.08 9,387.61
March 16, 2000 499.19 4.93 10,630.60
July 24, 2002 488.95 6.35 8,191.29
Sept. 30, 2008 485.21 4.68 10,850.66
July 29, 2002 447.49 5.41 8,711.88
March 18, 2008 420.41 3.51 12,392.66
March 11, 2008 416.66 3.55 12,156.81
Sept. 18, 2008 410.03 3.86 11,019.69
April 5, 2001 402.63 4.23 9,918.05
April 18, 2001 399.10 3.91 10,615.83
Biggest percentage gains
Date Points Percent Close
March 15, 1933 8.26 15.34 62.10
Oct. 6, 1931 12.86 14.87 99.34
Oct. 30, 1928 28.40 12.34 258.47
Sept. 21, 1932 7.67 11.36 75.16
Monday 936.42 11.08 8,387.61
Oct. 21, 1987 186.84 10.15 2,027.85
Aug. 3, 1932 5.06 9.52 57.22
Feb. 11, 1932 6.80 9.47 78.60
Nov. 14, 1929 18.59 9.36 217.28
Dec. 18, 1931 6.90 9.35 80.69
Source: The Associated Press