The blue-chips index eased off its session high but closed higher by 179 points, or 1.5%, at 12,397. Financial stocks Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and aluminum producer Alcoa ( AA), led gains by 26 of the Dow's 30 components. Other strong sectors included raw materials and energy. The S&P 500 was up 19 points, or 1.6%, at 1,277. The Nasdaq increased 44 points, or 1.7%, to 2,649.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks held on to strong New Year's gains, with a triple-digit advance by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as encouraging economic reports on U.S. manufacturing and construction spending boosted optimism the economy would continue to recover into 2012.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
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