Stocks Rock In The New Year

Stocks rocketed higher Tuesday after Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested that the Fed’s 18-month campaign of interest rate hikes may finally be nearing an end.

Stocks were flat when the news hit at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and the Nasdaq and S&P were 1.7% higher by the time the first trading day of 2006 ended two hours later.

The Fed’s December meeting minutes said that while more interest rate increases are likely, the number “probably would not be large.” That cheered traders, who had earlier sold stocks on a weaker than expected national manufacturing report.

The Nasdaq soared 38 to 2243, the S&P 500 surged 20 to 1268, and the Dow rose 130 to 10,847. Volume rose to 2.53 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.05 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 25-8 on the NYSE, and 19-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 81% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 216-62 on the NYSE, and 120-50 on the Nasdaq.

Google rose 5% after Piper Jaffray set a $600 target on the stock.

Genesis Micro jumped 8% on an Oppenheimer upgrade.

Rambus soared 12% on a deal with AMD .

Blue Coat fell 12% on an acquisition.

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