( At 4:41 p.m. EDT) That was not your garden variety rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average started the day strong as traders gave their blessing to the government's newest save-the-banks plan, and it was still climbing into the close. At the end of Monday's session, the industrials were up 497.48 points, or 6.8%, at 7775.86, the best close since the day before Valentine's. Every stock in the index finished in positive territory, and among the notable winners, Bank of America ( BAC) rose 26% to $7.80. The last time it went out higher was Jan. 15. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) gained 24.7% to $28.86, and Citigroup ( C) jumped 19.5% to $3.13. Pfizer ( PFE) was the laggard, and it still tacked on 2.9% to $14.02. Banks weren't the only components turning in banner days. United Technologies ( UTX) and 3M ( MMM) rose more than 7%. Disney ( DIS) and DuPont ( DD) were up better than 8%. Alcoa ( AA) made like a biotech and ended higher by 13%. We certainly have a long way to go before the Dow reclaims its October 2007 record high (it's 45% below where it stood then), and this year, it's off 11.4%. However, March has turned green in the last two weeks, and since the month began, the index has now risen 10.1%. Updated from 10:50 a.m. EDT
Best Bank Plan Ever
( At 2:35 p.m. EDT) Nearing the final hour of the session, the Dow is holding on to a gain of more than 300 points. That's the way you like to see a week start if you're bullish or if you have a 401(k).