The Dow finished up 117.78 points today, closing at 12,853.09 on signals from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke of interest-rate cuts to come and reports that Bank of America is in talks to buy home-loan giant Countrywide. It was a bumpy ride, though, as the key index was down more than 100 points at one point on weak December sales at big retailers.
The Nasdaq climbed 13.97 to 2,488.52, and the S&P tacked on 11.20 to close at 1,420.33, MarketWatch reports. The news that credit-card issuer Capital One had underperformed was taken as a bad harbinger on the financial front. One strategist said the "market clearly can’t make up its mind,” while another hedged on Bernanke’s rate cut hints: He “gave reassurance, he didn’t give certainty.”