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Stocks rally on Wall Street, fuels hope for improvement

Staff report

A stock rally on Wall Street Monday fueled hopes for more improvement in the markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average, a key index of majors stocks, surged 447 points ­ the third-largest one-day point gain in history.

Just last week, after three straight days of major losses, the Dow Jones industrial average rebounded Wednesday, jumping up nearly 489 points in only the second-largest one-day point gain ever.

The Dow finished Monday up 447.49 points, or 5.4 percent, at 8,711.88, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index ended 73.13 points higher ­ up 5.8 percent ­ at 1,335.25.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, which slipped to a five-year low last week, finished the day up 46.12 points, or 5.4 percent, at 898.96.

Following the major declines over the past several weeks ­ which erased half the gains made in the market over the past two decades ­ analysts said a sustained rally was needed to improve investors’ confidence in the market.

That confidence has been eroded, experts say, by the string of corporate scandals, including Enron and WorldCom.

Some traders, experts say, have been waiting for an Aug. 14 deadline, set by the Securities and Exchange Commission, for major company CEOs and CFOs to sign off on their accounting practices with the SEC.