Stocks Soar After Fed Eases Fears

Stocks posted their biggest point gains in three years Thursday after the Federal Reserve raised hopes that it may soon be done raising interest rates.

The Fed raised interest rates a quarter point, the 17th rate hike in its two-year campaign to fight inflation, said that growth is moderating, and suggested that further rate increases will be data dependent. The news raised investor hopes that the Fed will soon pause in its rate-hike campaign.

The Dow and S&P gained 2% each. The Nasdaq soared 3%, and small cap, chip and Internet stock gains approached 4%.

The Nasdaq surged 62 to 2174, the S&P 500 gained 26 to 1272, and the Dow soared 217 to 11,190. Volume rose to 2.62 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.23 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 27-5 on the NYSE, and 24-6 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 92% on the NYSE, and 91% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 92-125 on the NYSE, and 101-73 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Research in Motion rose 3% after beating estimates, while Palm tumbled 8% on a warning. Accenture gained 2% after beating estimates, while Apple fell 2% after saying an internal stock option investigation had uncovered irregularities.

During the day, Micron and Red Hat fell 5-6% after posting mixed results.

Neoware plunged 42% on a warning, and ATI tumbled 12% after lowering guidance.

RSA soared 18% on reports that it could be acquired by EMC .

3Com surged 15% on restructuring plans.

Silicon Image jumped 19% after raising guidance, while Merix rose 12% on its results.

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