The market posted a strong rally today. The Dow (INDEX: ^DJI ) was up 1.9% to finish at 13,292, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) jumped 2.0%, to 1,432.12, and the Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) jumped 2.2%, to 3,135.81. For the Dow and S&P, these were highs that they hadn't seen since late 2007/early 2008. For the Nasdaq, it was the bubble heights of 2000.
On the Dow, all 30 stocks rose, but the two bank components led the way: Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and JPMorgan were the largest (5.0%) and third-largest (4.3%) gainers. Good news for Europe is good news for these banks for two reasons: they are tied into the global economy, and because of direct exposure to European sovereign debt.
And today's move by the European Central Bank was interpreted as very good European news by the markets. The ECB has agreed to buy up unlimited amounts of shorter-term sovereign debt. The catch is the conditions that will come with that backstop, if countries like Spain and Italy seek help. What's especially helpful is that the promised backstop has the effect of lowering interest rates and,thus, borrowing costs. By promising to help, the ECB lowers the likelihood of having to help.
Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN ) stock was only up 2.1% today, but it led water-cooler discussions not beginning with "Guess how much ________ is up today?" It unveiled the latest iterations of its Kindle tablets. In short, Amazon kicked dirt in the face of other Android tablet makers, served notice that it's competing throughout the tablet price range, and showed off some fancy upgrades to its basic Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire.
On the e-reader side, the Kindle Paperwhite boasts a back-lit screen and a longer battery life. On the Kindle Fire side, two new HD versions were launched.
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