US stocks rallied today, with blue chips and Countrywide Financial at the helm. A General Motors' analyst upgrade and a higher-than-anticipated dividend at McDonald's helped drive the Dow up 133.23 points, to 13,424.88. Countrywide rose 14% on news that the battered lender has lined up $12 billion in financing. The Nasdaq climbed 8.99 to 2,601.06, and the S&P jumped 12.39 to 1,483.95, MarketWatch reports.
An early-bird Labor Department report also gave the markets a boost with news that new jobless applications were up only 4,000 for the week ending Sept. 8, signaling a healthy labor market. There was a modest respite from the rise in crude oil prices, but crude still represents an "important income shock to US consumers," said one economist.