Stocks Soar On Stimulus Plan

Stocks began their first full post-holiday trading week with an impressive show of strength Monday, as all major exchanges opened up and gained altitude through most of the session.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 34.2, or 2.5%, to close at 1421.3, while the Dow Jones rose 171.9, or 2.0%, to finish at 8773.6. The S&P climbed 20.3, or 2.2%, to end the day at 928.9.

The Internet Stock Index, or ISDEX, led all indexes by rising 3 points to 118.6, a 2.6% advance.

Some analysts attributed Monday’s surge to the White House plan to eliminate taxes on stock dividends. Among the top gainers were utility shares, which traditionally pay hefty dividends.

In the tech sector, EMC soared 51 cents, or 8.0%, to 6.90 after the data storage market leader announced stronger-than-expected preliminary results for the fourth quarter. EMC expects revenue of $1.47 billion for Q4, which ended Dec. 31. Q3 revenues were $1.26 billion. Company officials credit EMC’s strength in the midrange data storage market.

Optical networking equipment maker Juniper Networks rose 69 cents, or 9.4%, to 8.08 after getting an upgrade from EquityOutlook.Com.

Server vendor Sun Microsystems gained 20 cents, or 5.5%, to 3.74 after being included in a Merrill Lynch report forecasting that networking and computer equipment companies should reach Q4 estimates. But the report also singled out Sun as suffering from weak demand for the Unix operating system and a “mediocre start” for the new Linux system.

A big loser Monday was , which plunged 15.02, or 25.4%, to 44.02. The online hotel reservation company announced it would not meet fourth-quarter revenue and earnings projections because of a global slump in hotel occupancy.

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