Stocks, Led by the Gold Sector, Close Up After Last Week's Tumble

However, the major indices closed well off their session highs.
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While major market averages began the process of repairing the damage of last week's mammoth selloff, the market saw an unlikely star today, a group that outshone all other sectors by a jaw-dropping margin.

That star was gold. Gold stocks took off and soared into the stratosphere as the price of gold exploded to the upside on news European central banks pledged to restrict sales of bullion over five years. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index

skyrocketed 21.1%.

As for the major stock proxies, they all posted gains, but all closed well off their best levels of the session. Intraday, the tech-laden

Nasdaq Composite Index

had risen as much as 2794.16; the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

had jumped as high as 10,402.49; while the

S&P 500

had traded as high as 1295.02.

The market's advance was attributed to several factors, including in part: the market had become oversold and was due for a bounce after last week's damage, as well as the dollar's advance against the yen. The dollar was at 105.59 yen, up from 103.92 on Friday.

Treasuries slumped, reversing some of their advance last week, which came thanks partly to the swoon in stocks. With today's stock gains, money was pulled out of the government market.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers defeated decliners 1,753 to 1,238 on 780.8 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners beat losers 2,028 to 1,803 on 932.6 million shares.

On the NYSE, 248 issues set new 52-week lows while only 22 touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 119 issues set new 52-week lows while new lows totaled 63.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

was most active with 25.7 million shares changing hands. It was up 3 5/16 to 100 13/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was most active with 35.5 million shares changing hands. It was up 2 9/16 to 78 3/16.

Merrill to Offer After-Hours Trading for Online, Traditional Accounts

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

vice chairman John "Launny" Steffens said Monday at the

Jupiter Financial Services Forum

in San Francisco that his company will add after-hours trading for both online and traditional accounts sometime after January. Steffens said his company will likely work with

Archipelago

, in which Merrill recently bought a stake, and

Knight/Trimark Group

(NITE)

. Steffens declined to delve into the details of the after-hours offering.

TheStreet.com

in August

wrote about Merrill agreeing to start handling the back-office end of stock trades for Knight/Trimark.

-- Caroline Humer

Market data above are preliminary. Updated numbers and analysis will follow in the Market Roundup

Earlier...

3:06 p.m.: Major Indices Slip From Session Highs

Major market averages are probably pretty envious of the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index

as all the major stock proxies have given up a chunk of their intraday gains while the gold and silver gauge was trading around its session peak.

2:05 p.m.: Nasdaq, Russell Lead Charge Higher

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

and the

Russell 2000

were leading a broadbased charge higher this afternoon as buyers stepped in today after last week's horrendous market swoon.

1:06 p.m.: Midday Musings: Traders Get a Bounce on Dollar/Yen, Technicals

11:49 a.m.: Stocks Solidly Higher After Last Week's Stumble

Stocks were enjoying solid gains late this morning in a broad advance as the market has begun to rebound from last week's devastating selloff.

10:53 a.m.: Stocks Jump as Gold Mining, Internet Sectors Soar

If you're wondering which sector is absolutely on fire so far this morning, look no further than gold mining stocks.

9:54 a.m.: Stocks Open Modestly Higher After Last Week's Stumble

Stocks were sporting solid gains in the early going, beginning to repair some of the damage suffered last week, with a little upside catalyst coming thanks to positive comments from prominent bullish strategist Abby Joseph Cohen of

Goldman Sachs

.