U.S. Stocks start 2011 at new highs

09:00, January 04, 2011      

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Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Jan. 3, 2011. The U.S. stocks started in 2011 with a big jump on Monday, as returning investors showed a positive view of the U.S. economy. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

U.S. stocks ended at new highs in more than two years on Monday, the first trading day of 2011, as investors were feeling more optimistic about the outlook of the U. S. economy.

Wall Street wrapped up the year of 2010 with solid gains. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 11 percent for the year. The broader S&P 500 rallied about 13 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained nearly 17 percent.

Optimism on a stronger recovery continued to push the market higher on the first session of the new year.

The Dow ended up 93.24 points, or 0.81 percent, to 11,670.75, the highest closing since August 2008.

The S&P 500 surged 14.23 points, or 1.13 percent, to close at a 26-month high of 1,271.87.

The Nasdaq rose 38.65 points, or 1.46 percent, to 2,691.52, a fresh record for the closing in three years.

Monday's gains were broad-based, with all ten sectors in S&P 500 higher, as the latest economic data provided further evidence that the economy was gaining momentum.

The Institute for Supply Management said on Monday that its index of national factory activity rose to 57.0 last month from 56. 6 in November. It's the 17th straight gain for the index, showing the manufacturing sector was still the main driver for the recovery.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending increased 0.4 percent in November, the third straight monthly gains. Meanwhile, building activity remains 33.2 percent below the all-time high hit in March 2006, when spending was driven by a record boom in housing.

Bank of America soared 6.37 percent, the most in Dow's 30 components, after the company announced to take a provision of about 3 billion dollars in the fourth quarter to buy back bad loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that were issued by its troubled Countrywide Financial unit.

Alcoa was also among the best performers, with its shares up 2. 66 percent, after Deutsche Bank upgraded its stock-investment rating on the aluminum producer to buy from hold, citing the company could benefit from higher prices going forward.

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