Updated from 3:24 p.m. EDT
Thanks for the Assist( At 5:30 p.m. EDT) The Dow Jones Industrial Average got a late lift thanks to the Federal Reserve's latest commitment to put added funds to work in the economy, and the index closed ahead Wednesday for the sixth time in the past seven trading days. At the end of the session, the industrials were up 90.88 points, or 1.2%, at 7486.58, the highest finish since Feb. 18. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), up 7.8% at $27.11, was the biggest contributor to the increase, accounting for nearly 16 points of the overall advance.
Mighty Generous of You( At 3:10 p.m. EDT) If you like to see stocks go up, then give thanks to Ben Bernanke and the rest of the Federal Open Market Committee. The Dow rallied sharply after the Federal Reserve said it's planning to inject potentially more than $1 trillion in new funds into the U.S. economy, sending the industrials up more than 100 points. Recently, the index was advancing 129 points to 7525. That's a 300-point improvement from the session low.
Giving Up Ground( At 11:57 a.m. EDT) Sellers were in control throughout the morning, and around midsession the Dow was lower by 103 points at 7292. The weakness was widespread among the 30 index components, and only five stocks were higher. The best issues were Citigroup ( C), up 24% to $3.11, and Bank of America ( BAC), rising 9.3% to $6.85. The last time Citi was above $3 was Feb. 17, and since falling below $1 on March 5, the stock has tripled. BofA hasn't seen its current level in more than a month, either. McDonald's ( MCD), Verizon ( VZ) and Wal-Mart ( WMT) were also positive, but otherwise it was red numbers.
Alcoa ( AA) continued dropping in the wake of its dividend cut, this time losing 6.3% to $5.24, and our friends at OptionMonster note that put trading in the aluminum producer has been heavy. Boeing ( BA), whose delayed 787 was the subject of critical remarks from a customer, was another decliner, down 4.2% at $33.01.
Elsewhere in the news, IBM ( IBM) was trading lower by 2.4% to $90.72 following reports that it might be about to bid for Sun Microsystems ( JAVA), and Coca-Cola ( KO) was off 0.9% at $41.07 on word that China has rejected its offer for juice maker Huiyuan Juice Group. Among analyst actions, United Technologies ( UTX) was decreasing 1.6% to $41.04 after Morgan Stanley cut its estimates on the company, while an upgrade to buy at Needham wasn't giving Intel ( INTC) much of a lift.