Rally Continues, as Stocks Open Higher

Stocks in New York opened higher Monday, looking to pick back up on a four-day rally that left them 9% to 10% higher for last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, to 7284, out of the gate, while the S&P 500 added 6 points to 762. The Nasdaq also was tacking on 7 to 1438.

Fed chief Ben Bernanke reiterated his forecast Sunday night on "60 minutes" that the recession would probably end this year if efforts to stabilize and reinvigorate shaky banks are successful, although that's a difficult task.

One of the poster children for federal bailouts, AIG ( AIG) said it will pay hundreds of millions in bonus payments for executives and employees, including those at a business unit that was responsible for losing $40.5 billion last year and positioned the company to have to take $173.3 billion in federal aid.

Moreover, AIG, which is now about 80% taxpayer-owned, disclosed Sunday that roughly two-thirds of that federal aid has been paid out to trading partners, such as banks and municipalities in the U.S. and abroad, to cover contracts insuring against losses.

Meanwhile, Swiss banking giant, UBS ( UBS) plans to cut up to 5,000 senior and management jobs in the next few weeks in order to weather the hard times, according to a report in Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung.

On a brighter note, Barclays ( BCS) said it had a strong start to the year, mimicking similar comments from Citi ( C) and JPMorgan ( JPM) chiefs last week.

In commodities, oil was falling $1.42 to $44.83 a barrel, while gold was tracking $6.70 lower to $923.40 an ounce.

Stocks abroad were largely higher. The FTSE in London was up 2.2%, while the DAX in Frankfurt edged higher by 1.8%. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei ended higher by 1.8% and 3.6%, respectively.

Longer-dated Treasuries were falling. The 10-year note was losing 25/32 to yield 3%, and the 30-year was off by 2-10/32, yielding 3.8%. The dollar was stronger against the yen, and weaker vs. euro and pound.

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