Dow Can't Quite Hold 8000

Updated from 4:11 p.m. EDT

Stocks in New York were sharply higher Thursday, extending a global rally and an upbeat start to the second quarter on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 216.48 points, or 2.8%, to 7978.08, and the S&P 500 gained 23.30 points, or 2.9%, to 834.38. The Nasdaq climbed 51.03 points, or 3.3%, to 1602.63.

For a time, the Dow traded above 8000, a level it hasn't closed above since Feb. 9, but selling pressure late in the day pared the index's gain. The S&P and the Nasdaq also finished below their session highs.

Markets around the world were stronger, as well. The FTSE in London added 4.3% and Frankfurt's Dax climbed 6.1%. In Asia, the Nikkei rose 4.4%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong surged 7.4%.

Among the biggest gainers on the Dow, Alcoa ( AA) and DuPont ( DD) gained 7.6%, Caterpillar ( CAT) was up 8.8%, and General Motors ( GM) climbed 8.3%.

Financials rose early but gave some of their gains back, with the KBW Bank index up just 1.8% at the end of the day.

The gathering of world leaders at a G-20 summit to discuss strategies to fight the financial crisis and a vote by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to soften fair value, or mark-to-market, accounting rules, overshadowed news from the U.S. government that weekly jobless claims hit the highest level in more than 26 years.

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