Stocks posted resounding gains on Monday, getting the new year off to an auspicious start as indices saw their highest levels in years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 100 points higher at 11,670.75 for the first trading day of 2011, peaking in the morning at 11,711 before scaling back slightly in the afternoon.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both posted bumps of more than 1 percent: the S&P 500 rose 14.25 to 1261.89, while Nasdaq added 38.65 to finish at 2,691.52.
The Dow and S&P 500 reached their highest point in two years, while the Nasdaq 100 climbed to a 10-year high, according to Reuters.
Positive construction and manufacturing data, signs of growing economic activity, helped buoy the upsurge in stocks.
Manufacturing activity grew for the 17th straight month and November construction spending rose 0.4 percent, the Institute of Supply Management and the Commerce Department said in separate Monday reports.
Traditionally, January is an important month for the stock market. The first few days of the new year can set the tone for the whole year: according to The Associated Press citing the Stock Trader’s Almanac, a S&P 500 net gain in the first five days of January foretells positive stock growth for the year about 9 out of every 10 times.
The biggest stock winners were financials, including blue chip Bank of America (BAC, NYSE), which saw its stock rocket up more than 6 percent (85 cents) to 14.19 amid news it would buy back $3 billion worth of mortgages from lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and despite swirling rumors it will be the target of a Wikileaks dump.
Citigroup (C, NYSE) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM, NYSE) stock had significant boosts of 3.6 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Citigroup finished 17 cents higher at 4.90 and JPMorgan Chase gained 1.16 to close at 43.58.
After reports that it would be buying a stake in social networking site Facebook [https://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/48543/], investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS, NYSE) stock inched up nearly 3 percent (by 4.89) to 173.05.