Updated from 2:04 p.m. EDT

And Tomorrow's Already Wednesday

( At 5:35 p.m. EDT)

Thanks to a much better than expected reading on consumer confidence, Wall Street had an upbeat start to a short week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 196.17 points, or 2.4%, to 8473.49 Tuesday as 28 of its 30 stocks advanced.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was the best performer on a percentage basis, up 6.2% to $36.54. American Express ( AXP) gained 5% to $24.57, and Alcoa ( AA) added 4.6% to $9.27.

Only Bank of America ( BAC), off 0.8% at $10.98, and Coca-Cola ( KO), down 0.2% at $47.21, fell.

The story though, was GM ( GM), which appears to have made some progress with the auto workers. However, bankruptcy watch has never been more intense than it will be in the coming days. The company needs bondholders to agree to exchange their debt for equity, and reports suggest it's not looking good for the automaker's offer.

Shares tacked on 1 cent to $1.44 on volume that was more than seven times the daily average.

We'll know more in a few hours. Stay tuned.

Every Stock's Higher

( At 1:55 p.m. EDT)

GM ( GM) went from being the worst performer on the Dow all the way to positive territory as the automaker scrambled to stay out of bankruptcy court.

Just days ahead of a government deadline to prove its viability, GM has reached an agreement that will give 17.5% of its common stock, along with warrants, preferred stock and a $2.5 billion note, to the UAW's health-care Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile, retiree benefits will be cut immediately, the paper said. The Associated Press reported that most hourly employees will get buyout offers or requests to retire early.

Better late than never? I guess we'll see, but this last-minute cost-cutting is certainly making things interesting. There's still that problem with getting the bulk of bondholders to agree to go along. Lately, GM was up 5 cents at $1.48. Earlier, it was as low as $1.12.

All 30 stocks on the Dow are now in the green, and the index is up more than 200 points.

Now That's Power

( At 11:40 a.m. EDT)

Don't ever doubt the importance and influence of the U.S. consumer. That's who's single-handedly responsible for the 150-point gain the Dow was posting at the start of the week.

Let's review a bit of what the market was facing after the long holiday weekend. Worries about North Korea's missile testing, General Electric's ( GE) CEO out with comments talking down growth prospects, bleak data on home prices and continuing unease about GM ( GM), which could be looking at a bankruptcy filing within a week.

Not much to be happy about, and we had a sluggish start in New York. No real surprise there.

All that changed a half hour into trading, when the Conference Board said consumer confidence surged to its highest level in roughly eight months and trounced expectations. Remarkable, astonishing, considering the unemployment readings we've been getting lately. And stocks were off to the races.

Quite simply, this economy falls apart without consumer spending. If consumers believe that the future will be better and start shopping, we might get out of this recession, depression, downturn, slowdown, whatever you want to call it, sooner rather than later.

We shouldn't interpret this as the all-clear, but it's a step in the right direction. We'll need confirmation in the months ahead, and quite frankly if the job market doesn't improve we might not get it. However, for now, it is another sign that we have some reason to hope.

As for the Dow stocks, only three of them were lower, with the aforementioned GM the worst, down 8.4% at $1.31. A report on CNBC indicated that the vast majority of bondholders aren't going for the company's offer to swap their debt for an equity stake.

Coca-Cola ( KO) and Bank of America ( BAC) edged down, the latter despite an upgrade at FBR.

None of the gains were particularly sizable, though several companies were advancing 3% or more, including American Express ( AXP), Caterpillar ( CAT), Home Depot ( HD) and 3M ( MMM).

Meanwhile, Pfizer ( PFE) was little changed following reports that it could be raising more than $10 billion through a debt offering that would help it complete the planned acquisition of Wyeth ( WYE). Lately, the shares were up 1 cent at $14.97.

For now, I'll wrap up by pointing you toward an article from TSC Ratings on why AT&T ( T) might be a good buy at these levels.

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