Stocks closed up today as the year's dismal first quarter came to an end. Lower oil prices, improved business activity and a favorable reaction to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's new regulation plan helped to boost the markets, Bloomberg reports. The Dow ended up 46.49 to 12,262.89, the Nasdaq rose 17.92 to 2,279.10, and the S&P 7.48 to 1,322.70.
"It could restore confidence and it could bring investors back into the marketplace," a portfolio manager said of giving the Federal Reserve a greater role in monitoring investment and insurance firm. Citigroup, Wachovia, and JPMorgan Chase all surged, while Merck plunged after doctors said that two of its leading cholesterol pills are ineffective. (Read more stock market stories.)