Updated from 3:08 p.m. EST

Stocks in the U.S. finished on the upside Tuesday, as

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

narrowed its earnings forecast and the Big Three automakers returned to Capitol Hill hoping to secure a bailout.

The major indices carried gains the entire session, and the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended the day up 270 points, or 3.3%, at 8419.09. The

S&P 500

gained 32.60 points, or 4%, to 848.81, and the

Nasdaq

added 51.73 points, or 3.7%, to 1449.80.

During the previous outing, stocks sold off sharply as traders took profits from a sharp five-day rally in the blue-chip indices. The National Bureau of Economic Research also said that the economy has been in a recession since December 2007. At Monday's close, the Dow had lost 7.7% of its value, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each tumbled about 9%.

Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, said that today's rebound is not surprising given the broad selloff from the previous session. Trading in the S&P 500 has been tied to a 20% range since October as the economy attempts to determine how much longer the U.S. recession will continue, he said.

"The news is going to be bad for the next three or four months," said Nolte, who foresees unemployment, retail sales and home sales numbers continuing to worsen in the short term. "Welcome to the worst part, probably, of the current downturn."

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The market is currently wrangling with a push and pull between deflation and inflation, said Michael Pento, senior market strategist at Delta Global advisors. The Treasury and

Federal Reserve

continue to pump money into the market, but the move is ultimately inflationary, he said.

The effect, said Pento, will be debt forgiveness for the consumer at the expense of the Fed's and Treasury's balance sheets. Such actions will hamper the government's ability to act to control inflation later, and the next time the economy faces crisis, there will just be more leverage to unwind, he said.

The alternative is to endure a severe downturn recession to bring home prices and consumer debt to historical norms, Pento said. "A massive deleveraging has to occur -- not only on the consumer level, but on the government level," he said.

In a continuation of its efforts to provide liquidity to the financial system during the credit crisis, the Federal Reserve extended until April 30 the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility and the Term Securities Lending Facility.

In other government news, reports also indicated that President-elect Barack Obama would name New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as his secretary of commerce.

Ahead Monday's trading, industrial titan

General Electric

narrowed its fourth-quarter earnings-per-share projection to between 50 cents and 52 cents from a previous target of 50 cents to 65 cents. The company also affirmed its intention to maintain its $1.24 per share dividend in 2009. Shares rose 14% to $17.61.

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Investors were also closely watching

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

Ford

(F) - Get Report

and

Chrysler

. Chief executives from the automakers were submitting detailed plans to Congress in an effort to show their businesses still warrant a federal bailout.

Ford requested from Congress $9 billion in low-interest financing as a backstop while it reorganizes operations and said it hopes to break even or turn a profit in 2011. The company said it would rather transform its business without government help. CEO Alan Mullaly said agreed to a $1 annual salary should the government offer the funds. Ford shares gained 5.9% to $2.70.

GM requested $12 billion in term loans to shore up its liquidity through 2009, and requested an additional $6 billion line of credit in case of a further market downturn. The company said it intends to repay the loans as soon as 2001. It said it intended to ramp up its development of fuel-efficient vehicles and would consolidate its operation. Shares climbed 5.7% to $4.85.

"My personal preference would be to force a merger between all or two of them," Hinsdale's Nolte said of the automakers. "They're going to have to get smaller. They're not selling that many cars anymore." Nolte said that the $25 billion bailout the automakers are after is not an adequate solution. Worries that consumers would cease buying cars from a bankrupt company are overstated, he said. He added that it would be acceptable for the government to stand behind the warranties on the automakers' products in the event of a bankruptcy.

Automakers also rolled out their November sales figures Tuesday. Ford said its light-vehicle sales fell 31% year over year, slightly better than expected. GM's vehicle sales were down 41%, and Chrysler said it experienced a 47% dropoff in sales.

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Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

reported a sales decline of 34%, and

Honda

(HMC) - Get Report

said its November sales dropped 32%. Toyota gained 5.9% to $62, and Honda added 3.3% to $20.59.

Elsewhere, a union of engineers for aerospace firm

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

ratified new contracts with the company. The deal covers more than 20,000 workers. Earlier this year, Boeing faced production delays and reduced earnings when its machinists union elected to strike. The stock climbed 2.1% to $40.70.

Meanwhile,

Delta Airlines

(DAL) - Get Report

announced systemwide capacity cuts of 6% to 8% and said it was assessing the reductions' impact on its employees. Shares jumped 6.4% to $8.47.

An executive from American Airlines parent

AMR

(AMR)

reportedly said the company raised $200 million in the fourth quarter by selling some of its fleet to leasing companies and then renting, and the stock rose 5.2% to $8.45.

Among financial companies,

The Wall Street Journal

reported that

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

would post a $2 billion loss for the most recent quarter. Goldman lost 1.2% to $65.

Several big technology names were also making headlines.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that ex-AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is trying to gather money to buy part or all of

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

. The stock rocketed 7.1% to $11.50.

Meanwhile,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Hitachi

(HIT)

announced plans to collaborate on development of solid-state drives for servers. Intel tacked on 5.7% to $13.28, and Hitachi added 6.4% to $45.49.

In earnings news,

Beazer Homes

(BZH) - Get Report

posted a fourth-quarter loss that tripled from a year ago. Similarly, department-store operator

Sears Holdings

(SHLD)

announced a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss and announced an additional $500 million in planned share repurchases.

Beazer lost 8% to $1.38, and Sears jumped 13% to $36.09.

In the commodities arena, crude oil lost $2.32 to settle at $46.96 a barrel. Gold gained $6.50 to close at $783.30 an ounce.

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Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was up 12/32 to yield 2.69%, and the 30-year was higher by 8/32, yielding 3.20%. The dollar was rising vs. the yen but falling against the euro and pound.

Overseas, European markets, such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt, were marking gains. In Asia, both Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished with losses.