Updated from 1:57 p.m. EDT
Times like this it's mighty easy to forget about that little recession issue. Makes you almost think you heard your grandparents or neighbors say something vague about a credit crisis long, long ago. Maybe it was a network miniseries on the end of civilization. Doesn't matter, all's good now. Fine, enough with the fun-having. The rally was actually something to behold, even if it does turn out to be just another one-day trip down memory lane to a time when stocks used to occasionally rise. Citi was up 32% to $1.39. Bank of America ( BAC) was jumping 26% to $4.73. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was adding 19%. Financials showing leadership again? General Electric ( GE) was better by 18%. Later, haters.
The worst stock was McDonald's ( MCD), up 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $52.40. We can forgive the burger seller for taking it easy, though. McDonald's never got eviscerated, so if it doesn't get a double-digit increase this fine day, no one's going to be alarmed.
Revenue, excluding planned writedowns, totaled $19 billion in January and February. (The entire letter can be found on the SEC's Web site.) Following the remarks, Citi was up 18% in the premarket. Well done.
Of course the stock is still only at $1.24. We all know about the punishing selloff in the shares, but just in case you don't I'll note that they've fallen more than 80% since the end of 2008 alone. Maybe though, this will be a turn for Citi. There's at least as much of a chance that it won't be, I suppose, but you have to start somewhere. Several other Dow components were in the headlines early, and unfortunately it was mostly for the wrong reasons. Pali Research cut Disney ( DIS) to sell from neutral and put a $12.50 price target on the stock, while Wal-Mart ( WMT) was lowered to hold from buy at Citi with a $53 target. At Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) was taken off the conviction buy list, according to CNBC. Despite the moves, H-P was up 1.5%, Wal-Mart was barely changed and Disney wasn't trading, so no real damage so far. We'll have to wait and see what happens on United Technologies ( UTX), which lowered its forecast, partly because of restructuring and job-cutting costs. The company now expects to earn around $4 to $4.50 a share this year and said it will eliminate more than 11,000 workers. On top of that, United has decided to pare its buyback plans in half, to $1 billion.