Stocks were buoyant today in an abbreviated Christmas Eve session, rising on falling interest rates and optimism that financial institutions would find new sources of capital from abroad. The Dow got a boost from a big cash infusion for Merrill Lynch and aluminum giant Alcoa’s sale of a major division, jumping 98.68 points to 13,549.33. The S&P 500 added 11.99 points to 1,496.45, and Nasdaq rose 21.51 points to close at 2,713.50
Merrill announced today that it closed a deal to raise $6.2 billion by selling shares to the government of Singapore, along with Davis Selected Advisors, joining the likes of Citigroup and UBS in seeking a foreign capital solution to subprime woes. "The fact that we're seeing the availability of credit come back, it gets us past the point of a banking crisis, and that's really what the central banks wanted to see,'' said one analyst.