U.S. stocks absolutely took off today, no matter how you slice it. Buoyed by a steady flow of positive economic news, markets started strong, only to surge further strongly during the afternoon's portion of the trading session.
Two specific economic reports provided most of the fuel for today's rally. U.S. retail sales rose strongly in February, increasing at the highest rate in five months, driven largely by boosts to spending at car dealerships, gas stations, and clothing retailers. Additionally, small-business optimism rose once more in February. The reading has increased over seven consecutive months and now sits at its highest point since December 2007. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee also met but announced no new actions on interest rates or further stimulus.
The largely positive news propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Financials led the rally, spiking 4% with both Bank of America
Industrial stocks also performed well on the Dow today. Aluminum heavyweight Alcoa
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Andrew Tonner owns none of the stocks mentioned here. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.