updated 4:22 p.m. ET March 31, 2008
Wall Street closed a dismal first quarter with a moderate gain Monday, rising after a reading on regional manufacturing came in better than expected.
It has been a difficult quarter on Wall Street, with financial companies’ continuing credit market losses and the flagging economy wiping out investors’ appetite for stocks. While the market has seen a number of up days during the quarter, overall the first-quarter trend was sharply lower.
Investors also examined a government plan to overhaul the way Wall Street is regulated. Wall Street appeared unmoved by a speech from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the plan to reorganize oversight of Wall Street; details of the 218-page plan have been widely reported in recent days. It would give the Federal Reserve increased power to protect the stability of the entire financial system while merging day-to-day supervision of banks into one agency, down from five under the existing system.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 46.49, or 0.38 percent, to 12,262.89.
Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 7.48, or 0.57 percent, to 1,322.70, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 17.92, or 0.79 percent, to 2,279.10.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.58 billion shares compared with 1.35 billion shares traded Friday.
The dollar rose against several other major currencies, easing pressure on commodities such as oil and gold. Light, sweet crude fell $4.92 to $100.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while gold also declined.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.41 percent from 3.45 percent late Friday.
The Asian markets are expected to perform today.
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