Picking up where they left off Friday, major averages rallied strongly Monday, even as the dollar continued to come unglued. At some point, according to pessimists, a falling dollar will reduce the appeal of U.S. assets to foreigners, resulting in pronounced weakness in both U.S. equities and Treasuries.

But if that time is coming, it's clearly not here yet.

After trading as high as 8743.48, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.4% to 8726.13, its highest close since Jan. 14. The S&P 500 gained 1.3% to 945.11, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.4% to 1541.40, its best close since June 6, 2002.

The S&P easily surpassed its Dec. 2 closing high of 934.53. Its post-October intraday high of 954.32 would appear to be the index's next major technical obstacle. Beyond that is the S&P's August 2002 high of 965 (more on that below).

Advancing issues bested decliners by 11 to 5, and new 52-week highs swamped new lows by 278 to 4 in Big Board trading, and by 199 to 4 in over-the-counter activity, where 1.7 billion shares traded. About the only negative was that volume -- at 1.3 billion shares on the Big Board -- wasn't more impressive.

Individual standouts included Cisco ( CSCO), Raytheon ( RTN) and Ann Taylor ( ANN), which were separately upgraded by sell-side analysts, as well as Altria ( MO), the subject of positive comments in Barron's.

Also, SBC Communications ( SBC) rose 4.6% after Illinois passed legislation allowing the carrier to raise rates for network access.

As stocks built strength throughout the session, Treasuries lost some of their early gains, but the price of the benchmark 10-year note still closed up 15/32 to 100 1/32, its yield falling to 3.62%.

Neither stocks nor Treasuries seemed terribly perturbed about the dollar's latest decline, which followed weekend comments by Treasury Secretary John Snow. On ABC television's "This Week," Snow said: "When the dollar is at a lower level, it helps exports, and I think exports are getting stronger as a result" of the dollar's recent weakness.

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