Stocks Soar Despite Dismal Data

The lowest consumer confidence reading in the 41-year history of the Conference Board wasn’t enough to hold back buyers on Tuesday, who sent stocks to their second huge gain in a little more than two weeks.

The Dow’s 10.9% gain was its sixth best-day ever — with number five the 11.1% gain that came on October 13. The top four single-day gains all occurred during the Great Depression.

A strong overseas rally, good news for Boeing (NYSE: BA) and GM (NYSE: GM) and expectations for a half-point rate cut from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday were cited as reasons for the rally, but it’s possible that the consumer confidence reading of 38 was so bad that traders figured it can’t get much worse. The previous record — 43.2 — was set at the December 1974 stock market low.

With the Nasdaq up 9.5% on the day, it was hard to find a tech stock that didn’t post a big gain.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) gained 9% on a look at Windows 7 and other products.

On the Nasdaq’s most active list, Nvidia’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) 15% gain and Comcast’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) 24% surge led the way. Comcast benefited from positive comments from Credit Suisse a day ahead of its quarterly earnings report.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) slipped after selling its DTV business to Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) for less than expected.

SAP (NYSE: SAP) managed a 6% gain despite a tepid outlook.

The Nasdaq soared 143 to 1649, the S&P gained 91 to 940, and the Dow soared 889 to 9065. Volume rose to 7.23 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.85 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 27-7 margin on the NYSE, and 20-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 95% on the NYSE, and 87% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 3-668 on the NYSE, and 1-622 on the Nasdaq.

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