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Dow Watch: GM, Banks Lead the Advance

Stocks in this article: GE HD C

Updated from 2:47 p.m. EST

Nice Gains for a Change

(At 5:19 p.m. EST)

Not sure how much follow through we'll get tomorrow, but Tuesday's run-up in the market certainly was a relief from the almost daily pessimism and gloom about stocks we've gotten used to.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 236.16 points, or 3.3%, to 7350.94 after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke cheered traders with his vision that 2010 could be the year we'll begin the recovery.

I like the sound of this. Assuming the government can get things turned around by propping up a few badly distressed companies, we'll be back in form next year.

Just 10 more months and then we'll be creating jobs, buying new homes and cars, filling the malls, getting more credit cards. Right? In all seriousness, let's hope he's on to something and that tonight President Obama will add some encouraging comments about getting the economy out of this mess.

Since I don't want to be too cynical, I'll focus on the positives. The Dow broke a three-day string of losses and had its best point gain and percentage increase since Jan. 21. The move higher cut the index's decline for the month to 8.1% and pared its decrease for the year to 16.2%.

Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) was the only loser of the 30 Dow stocks, and it fell just 4 cents to $17.17. The winners were paced by Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), Citigroup (C - Get Report) and GM (GM - Get Report), all of which soared more than 20%, led by a 25.4% surge in the automaker.

Other big gainers were American Express (AXP), up 12.1%, and Alcoa (AA) and Home Depot (HD - Get Report), better by 10% each. And with that, good night.

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