Stocks followed their worst day in 21 years with their best day in six years, as traders snapped up beaten-down stocks on hopes that Congress may yet pass a financial rescue plan.
Also boosting stocks was a clarification by the SEC and FASB of “mark-to-market” accounting rules that could make it easier for financial companies to value distressed mortgage securities, and an FDIC request for temporary authority to boost deposit insurance limits to $250,000.
Together, the actions were enough to raise hopes that the government may yet come up with a comprehensive plan for dealing with the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But the major indexes still ended the month and quarter down sharply, with the S&P 500 off 9% for both the month and the quarter, its first four-quarter losing streak since 2001.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) investors suffered through an odd ending to the day, with the stock falling 16% in the last two minutes of trading before rebounding after hours after the Nasdaq Stock Market cancelled apparently erroneous trades. The stock ended the day with a 20% gain, albeit not an easy one.
And Google was just one of several tech names posting big gains on the day.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) benefited from positive analyst comments, and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) were among the names posting double-digit percentage gains.
Piper Jaffray upgraded Intel, JMP Securities gave RIM a vote of confidence, and Apple and Amazon got a boost after Goldman Sachs said the sell-off was overdone.
The Nasdaq rebounded 98 to 2082, the S&P rose 58 to 1164, and the Dow soared 465 to 10,850. Volume declined to 6.12 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.42 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 27-7 margin on the NYSE, and 19-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 90% on the NYSE, and 85% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 8-344 on the NYSE, and 15-259 on the Nasdaq.