Updated from 2:55 p.m. EDT

Tomorrow, the Jobs Report

( At 4:45 p.m. EDT)

The market lost a little momentum late in the session Thursday, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average still closed up 216.48 points, or 2.8%, at 7978.08, taking the two-day gain to 369 points.

Can't much complain about starting a new month and quarter off like that. The next big event will be the jobs report Friday morning. It's going to be bad again. We all know that. What we don't know is how bad.

Analysts are expecting somewhere around 650,000 more jobs were lost across the country last month. Remember the last time anything good came out of a report on employment? Me neither. That's terrible news, and there's really no other way to say it. Not many signs the situation is improving unfortunately.

Though it's no consolation to anyone who's out of work, since such low expectations are already out there the rally might be able to stay intact when the wretched numbers arrive. We've seen it happen before. Then again, if the reality proves more painful than expected, watch out.

As for this day, 27 of the Dow's 30 stocks rose. The three decliners, Pfizer ( PFE), Microsoft ( MSFT) and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), were only fractionally weaker.

The biggest percentage gains were posted by General Motors ( GM) and Caterpillar ( CAT), up more than 8% each. Alcoa ( AA), DuPont ( DD) and Disney ( DIS) had increases that exceeded 7%.

IBM ( IBM), however, was the main contributor to move higher, accounting for 25.57 points of the total.

We'll see what tomorrow holds, but at this point the Dow is in position to advance for the fourth consecutive week. The loss for the year has been cut to 9.1%, while the index is up 21.9% since March 9, when it ended at its lowest point in 12 years.

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