Dow, Nasdaq Post Biggest-Ever Point Gains as Stocks Surge

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Big deal.

Really

big deal.

Riding, in part, a wave of hope that the Fed will cut interest rates, U.S. stocks surfed sharply higher, as the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the tech-heavy

Nasdaq Composite Index

enjoyed the biggest point increases for a session in their respective histories.

The Dow ended up 380.53, or 5%, at 8020.78. The Dow's big surge began around 3:30 p.m. EDT and never looked back after that. The Dow's previous biggest point advance happened Oct. 28, when it rose 337.17.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite surged 94.32, or 6%, to 1660.84. The Nasdaq Composite's previous point-gain record was set last Tuesday, when it rallied 75.86.

Meanwhile, the

S&P 500

gained 49.57, or 5.1%, to 1023.46 and the small-cap

Russell 2000

leapt 14.86, or 4.3%, to 361.93.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, volume reached 816 million shares, while

Nasdaq Stock Market

volume totaled roughly 778 million shares. On the NYSE, winners beat losers 2,503 to 612. On the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners 3,113 to 1,248. On the NYSE, 124 issues hit new lows while 19 issues made new highs. On the Nasdaq, 227 issues hit new lows while 17 issues reached new highs.

The equity markets' gain, however, was the bond market's loss. The 30-year Treasury bond was down 1 3/32, to 102 4/32, to yield 5.36%.

The hope for a rate trimming came on Friday, when

Federal Reserve

Chairman

Alan Greenspan

gave a speech in California signaling the Fed had moved away from a tightening bias and suggesting it'll cut interest rates if it does anything.

The Fed's policy-making body, the

Federal Open Market Committee

, is slated to meet again Sept. 29.

In addition to hopes of a Fed rate cut, today's rally, some said today was also a continuation of Friday's dramatic late-day surge. At one point in the last hour of trading on Friday, the Dow was down 186.41, before buyers stormed the market and helped the Dow close off only 41.97 to 7640.25

William Keuffel, market strategist at

Optima Investment Research

in Chicago, said this afternoon, before the market really took off, that a close above 1015 on the September S&P 500 futures contract would give the market some technical momentum.

At last quote, the contract was up 51.50 to 1027.50.