At the close, the stock market was giddier than a junior high student swaying to

REO Speedwagon

during the "ladies' choice" portion of the dance.

Markets couldn't fight that lovin' feeling and rocketed into the green from the opening bell. For the first time since Election Day, both the

Dow Jones Industrial Average and

Nasdaq Composite Index ended much higher. In fact, both were so good that market trading curbs, or "trading collars," were put into affect to help keep markets calm. (Don't be alarmed. Whenever the market moves significantly to the upside or downside these curbs are put into effect.)

A Florida judge ruled that the results of the manual recount must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST. What the heck does that mean? Well, it means that the manual recount is underway, despite all the legal wrangling -- the count was suspended earlier today -- from both the Gore and Bush camps. Per the ruling, counties that want to amend their submitted counts can after the deadline. But (this is a big but) Florida's Republican secretary of state will decide whether to accept or deny amended counts. If recent actions are any barometer, such amended recounts might not be accepted after 5 p.m.

Markets took this as a sign that the weeklong struggle over the vote, with its bickering over the controversial butterfly ballot, devious little chads and an arduous manual count, will finally be over. Also to end, with any luck, will be the use of the phrase "markets don't like uncertainty," said almost as much as "razor-close margin" and "too close to call" in recent weeks.

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The Dow gained 1.6%, with 24 of the 30 industrials in the green. A large number of blue-chips made big upside moves, as a large number of aching stocks felt relief for the first time in over a week.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

added a combined 20 to the Dow's gain, despite hum-drum

earnings releases and negative fourth-quarter comments from the Depot.

Old-school technology busted a move as well.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

added a combined 47 to the Dow plus side.

And as large-cap Dow tech recovered, so did the Comp. Today's close puts the Comp above the psychologically critical 3000 level a day after it closed beneath it for the first time in well over a year.

Broad positivity could be found on both markets, with volume better than it has been in recent days and breadth improving on both the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange. Winners doubled up losers.

Sector Watch

Green markets are the place to be, Tech livin' is the life for me. Yee-haw! Let's call this a recovery, ya hear?

Forget

Dennis Rodman

, technology-related stocks have rebounded nicely without any of the tattooing, cross-dressing or Madonna associated with "the Worm." Semiconductors, boxmakers, heck, even those bloodied dot-coms were all much higher. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rose 5.7%, while the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Sector

rose 5.8%.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector Index

rose 6.6%.

Brokers were finally relieved from the destructive force called

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, which traded 1.5% higher today. The

American Stock Exchange Securities Broker/Dealer Index

rose 1.8%. Over on the retailers, where

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

and

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

provided leadership in the wake of their

earnings releases , things were better, too. The

S&P Retail Index

rose 2.5%.

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Bonds/Economy

Bonds opened weaker today, but strengthened on news that the Florida election might be settled sometime before the

Fourth of July

.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was flat near the end of the trading day, at 99 30/32, yielding 5.757%.

The 30-year

Treasury bond was also flat at 106 4/32, yielding 5.814%.

October

retail sales

(

definition |

chart |

source

) showed that the decline in retail activity was far weaker than expected. The headline number showed a 0.1% rise, vs. forecasts of a 0.1% rise and the previous month's 0.9% increase.

The major negative factor was a 1% decline in new car-dealer sales, which account for a quarter of monthly retail business. There was little sign of a general slowdown in demand and the core number, which excludes autos, rose 0.4%, below September's 0.7% rise.

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