By Jennifer Yousfi
At noon ET, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average Index had posted a gain of 222.25 points (1.80%), to trade at 12,583.57. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 63.34 points (2.80%), to reach 2,321.45. And the broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index had increased 24.03 points (1.81%), to hit 1,353.54.
Most sectors were up with the basic materials sector (3.18%), and the consumer cyclical sector (3.38%) posting the largest gains. The utilities sector was the only loser, shedding a scant decline of 0.06%.
The financial sector posted a 2.55% gain as Bear Stearns shares shot up over 100% on news that JPMorgan had quadrupled its original bid in an effort to woo angry shareholders.
"If you have stabilization of financial stocks, if we don't see any more near-bankruptcies, we can have a rally," Tom Wirth, senior investment officer at Chemung Canal Trust Co. in Elmira, New York, which manages $1.8 billion, told Bloomberg News. "Tiffany is bringing back to focus that the economy still is not that bad off."
In overseas markets, Japan's Nikkei Index shed 2.48 to close at 12,480.09 on Monday. Hong Kong's blue-chip Hang Seng Index plunged with a decrease of 758.72 points to close at 21,108.22 on Thursday, before closing for the four-day Easter weekend.
At midday, the dollar had gained ground against the euro [up 0.436%], the yen [up 1.697%] and the pound sterling [up 0.071%].
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