The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 300 points in early trading today on top of yesterday’s historic 936-point gain. Wall Street surged again today as investors reacted enthusiastically to the U.S. government’s plans to spend $250 billion to buy stock in private banks.
In the first half-hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 295.73, or 3.15 percent, to 9,683.34 after jumping more than 377 points in the early going.
Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 40.69, or 4.06 percent, to 1,044.04 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 42.90, or 2.33 percent, to 1,877.15.
Investors had snapped up stocks Monday in anticipation of the government’s plan. President Bush said Tuesday the government will use a portion of the $700 billion bailout to inject capital into the nation’s major banks, which have been slammed by souring mortgage investments. The move follows a similar one announced Monday by European governments to invest about $2 trillion in their own troubled banks.
Investors are hoping extraordinary steps by government officials will help resuscitate stagnant credit markets.
The revised bailout plan differs from the original in that it aims to recapitalize banks, not just buy the troubled assets off their books at prices that could leave the banks with losses.
“This begins to penetrate the core of the problem,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at New York-based brokerage house Avalon Partners Inc.
But, he said, “there will be a point in time where the euphoria of the bailout plan begins to wear off and the market begins to face reality. And that reality is likely to be a sour earnings season, and that the economy is in recession.”
While the markets are enjoying a big rebound, stock trading may see ongoing volatility in the weeks and months ahead. The Dow remains 33.7 percent below its Oct. 9, 2007 record close of 14,164.53, and could fluctuate around these levels for some time as investors wait for signs of stabilization in the slumping housing market and deteriorating job market.