Stocks Climb Back to Their Pre-Lehman Disaster Level

Stocks closed broadly higher Tuesday, helped by more deal activity in the financial sector and some upbeat earnings reports from the technology sector. After more than two years, the market has regained all its losses following the implosion of Lehman Brothers. The S&P 500 ($INX) now sits at a level not seen since early September 2008.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) rose 55 points, or 0.6%, to close at 11,533. Among the blue-chip index's leaders Tuesday were financial stocks Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), both of which rose more than 2.5%

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) added 18 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 2,668. Tech stocks were buoyed by beat-and-raise earnings reports from both Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Jabil Circuit (JBL).

The S&P 500 gained 8 points, or 0.6%, to close at 1,255. That broad measure of U.S. equity performance has now reclaimed its losses following the crisis touched off when Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 15, 2008 (see chart).

Traders love mergers and acquisitions because these deals show that companies have faith in the recovery, and on Tuesday they got their second big cross-border bank tie-up in less than a week. Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank said it's buying Chrysler Financial, the automaker's former lending business, from private equity firm Cerberus for $6.3 billion. That deal follows last week's announcement that Canada's Bank of Montreal would buy U.S. bank Marshall & IIsley for $4.1 billion.

Predictably, bank stocks were big winners Tuesday, with S&P's financial sector gaining 1.6%. Basic materials were also strong after Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said his country supports Europe's response to its debt crisis.

The bond market was essentially unchanged Tuesday, as the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury closed at 3.3%. Gold on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (CME) rose $2 to $1,388 an ounce. Oil inched up 46 cents to $89.83 a barrel.

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fanny mae has gone nowhere

December 21 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you really look at how most of these companies achieved their profitability you will see that sustainability is not there. The market rise is hype and nothing but spin. Just look at the weak private investor activity in the stock market. Volume is only from funds and other contrived trades. If you look behind the smoke and mirrors you can see we are standing on a wet toilet seat with a rope around our necks. The Government is broke and the dollar is getting more and more worthless every day. Protect your assets from worthless paper investments. Real estate, even if it goes lower,is still a solid investment because its value will always be equal to what the dollar is worth.

December 21 2010 at 6:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kr7005's comment

Even though the price of Real estate continues to decline, property taxes are staying the same. You buy property now, you're losing money and there is no return of your investment. The value of property will come up...someday, but not in foreseeable future.
I'll stick with my large caps stocks that continue to pay an increasing dividend each year and have no matter what the economy is like. With dividend reinvestment...if the price of shares goes down, the dividends simply buy more shares.

December 22 2010 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your large cap stocks are still paper !!! I hope you get 10 full shares for every one you own. Best of luck

December 22 2010 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew that if we gave Obama enough time he would extract us from the debacle the Republican's irresponsible policies-(free market capitalism with NO regulation)- led to. Of course lagging indicators (like unemployment) have to continue to be addressed.
THEN we have to address the deficit, which was created by spending $ to put brakes on the recession.

December 21 2010 at 5:49 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to georgetroll4's comment

Anyone out there follow or invested in MetLife (MET). It has suddenly begun to take off like a rocket. Any thoughts as to where is going from here. Input from stock holders appreciated. Thanks.

December 21 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to nmaccanico's comment