Updated from 9:36 a.m. EDT

U.S. stocks roared higher Friday following reports that the government was creating a sweeping fix for the financial crisis. Further support came in the form of a moratorium on short-selling by the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was jumping 299 points to 11,319, and the

S&P 500

gained 37 points to 1244. The

Nasdaq

added 57 points to 2256.

Financial stocks were off to the races. Names including

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

,

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

were all showing sizable double-digit gains.

During Thursday's volatile session, the major indices swung back and forth before rallying sharply in the afternoon. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

traded in a 617-point range before gaining 410 points, or 3.9%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq added 4.3% and 4.8%, respectively.

The late gains came on a

CNBC

report that the Treasury Department was formulating an entity that would remove bad debt from companies' balance sheets. The plan includes a possible $800 billion fund to buy bad debt from troubled financial firms.

Early Friday, the Treasury said it would offer $50 billion from its Exchange Stabilization Fund to insure

money-market

mutual funds. A number of such funds have lately been under fire thanks to investment in bad debt from bankrupt

Lehman Brothers

and flailing insurer

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

.

The

Federal Reserve

also said it would build on its liquidity programs to assist money-market funds, by taking steps that include buying short-term debt issued by

Fannie Mae

(FNM)

,

Freddie Mac

(FRE)

and the

Federal Home Loan Banks

.

Speaking at a press conference Friday morning, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would continue to buy mortgage-backed securities and support the mortgage market. He also said that the Treasury will expand its program to purchase mortgage-backed securities. He said that the cost of government intervention would reach the hundreds of billions of dollars.

"The Treasury's attempt to take the toxic debt instruments off financials' balance sheets is a pretty big step at correcting some of the problems in the credit market," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at Oaktree Asset Management. He said that even after government intervention, the crisis will remain until banks resume lending to one another.

The SEC, meanwhile,

banned short-selling

of 799 financial stocks, effective immediately. The temporary crackdown will remain in place until Oct. 2 but may be extended further. The U.K.'s financial regulator also banned short sales of 29 of its publicly traded companies. Short-selling, or making a bet that a given stock's price will fall, has been a source of heated controversy as some have speculated that short-sellers are responsible for the decline of

Bear Stearns

and

Lehman Brothers

.

"I don't necessarily like it," said Pavlik of the short-selling ban, "but I think it could help the market." He said that it's not necessarily right for the government to intervene in the markets, but I can understand why it's for the greater good of the economy and the greater good of the public.

Elsewhere in the financials space, AIG said

Edward Liddy

will succeed Robert Willumstad as chairman and CEO. Willumstad was ousted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as part of a government bailout package for AIG.

Stocks were further buoyed by decent earnings statements in the technology sector. After Thursday's session closed,

software maker Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

reported rising fiscal first-quarter profits but offered cautious revenue guidance.

Mobile device maker

Palm

(PALM)

posted a wider first-quarter loss but still bested Wall Street's estimates.

Looking at commodities, oil was gaining $3.07 to $100.95 a barrel. Gold was giving back $28.40 to $868.60 an ounce after surging more than $110 in the previous two days.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were declining in price. The 10-year was down 1-19/32 to yield 3.74%, and the 30-year was off 2-25/32, yielding 4.35%. The dollar was making substantial gains on the yen, but falling vs. the euro and pound.

Overseas, the FTSE in London was up 7.6%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was gaining 4.8%.

Asia stocks

went on a tear. The Nikkei in Japan closed with a gain of 3.8%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 9.6%.