Investors Bond With Stocks

Stocks soared Monday on news that bond insurers will hold onto their top credit ratings, at least for now.

The major indexes shot higher in the afternoon and finished with gains of more 1% after Standard & Poors reaffirmed the credit ratings of MBIA and Ambac Financial, removing a big cloud hanging over financial markets. Credit downgrades for the companies could have touched off another round of losses for troubled credit markets.

Dell gained 3% ahead of its results, which are due out after the close on Thursday.

Take-Two Interactive soared more than 50% after Electronic Arts made a hostile bid for the company, and Getty Images gained 29% on a private equity buyout.

Google was a notable laggard, falling 4%, possibly on reports that Microsoft is testing a new online ad effectiveness tool.

Apple managed to finish with a small gain despite a BMO downgrade on slowing iPod and iPhone demand. Juniper was up 5% on an RBC upgrade. Smith Micro fell 12% on a JP Morgan downgrade.

Marvell was up 6% on a positive Barron’s piece.

The Nasdaq rose 24 to 2347, the S&P gained 18 to 1371, and the Dow soared 189 to 12,570. Volume rose to 3.87 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.16 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 25-7 margin on the NYSE, and 20-9 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 84% on the NYSE, and 81% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 83-84 on the NYSE, and 58-124 on the Nasdaq.

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