Stocks flew higher Tuesday, as positive comments from Citigroup's ( C) CEO and the possibility of the uptick rule being reinstated cheered investors. The good news from Citigroup spilled over into shares of fellow financials Bank of America ( BAC) and JP Morgan Chase ( JPM) sending all three onto TheStreet.com's top ten most searched stocks list.
Citi chief Vikram Pandit offered some reassurance to investors and the market, saying the bank has had a strong start to 2009. Nonetheless, U.S. officials are reportedly examining what new steps they might need to take to stabilize Citi if conditions worsen for the bank, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The Treasury Department already has a 36% stake in the troubled U.S. bank, which dipped below $1 a share briefly last week. Stocks appeared to get an added boost after CNBC reported that Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) believes the uptick rule might be restored within a month. The uptick rule hasn't been in effect since 2007, and some market observers believe that has allowed unfettered short-selling to take down shares. Before the rule was repealed, a short sale could only come after a move higher in a security's price. Merck ( MRK) remains on the most searched stocks list on the heels of yesterday's $41 billion bid for its cholesterol-drug partner Schering-Plough ( SGP). And in other mergers and acquisitions news, Dow Chemical ( DOW) and Rohm & Haas ( ROH) reached an agreement to merge by April 1. Both companies were heavily searched on TheStreet.com, along with Genentech ( DNA) which is reportedly nearing a deal with European drugmaker Roche about a prospective takeover.
On the tech side, Apple ( AAPL) jumped onto the list after Dow Jones reported the company could launch a netbook PC by the second half of this year. The small, portable and lower-priced devices would compete with netbooks being marketed by Dell ( DELL) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ). Finally, Palm ( PALM) hopped onto the stock search after the tech shop found strong demand for its stock sale. The cash-needy smartphone maker bumped up the number of shares it plans to sell to 23.1 million from the 18.5 million originally targeted. The shares are priced at $6, and Palm expects to raise $83.9 million in cash from the offer.