Stocks hit two-year high
January 3rd, 2011
10:12 PM ET

Stocks hit two-year high

Some highlights of the day's business news:

Stocks off to a rockin' start in 2011

The Dow closed at a fresh two-year high Monday, getting the new year off to a strong start, after manufacturing and construction data stoked optimism about the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 93 points, or 0.8%, closing at 11,670.8 - its highest level since August 2008.

Bank of America was the biggest gainer on the blue-chip index, leading financial shares higher. Its shares surged more than 6% after the bank announced a $3 billion mortgage settlement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 rose 14 points, or 1.1%; and the Nasdaq added 39 points, or 1.5%.

While the economy has a long road to recovery, investors are bullish about the month ahead.

"Over the long term, January has usually been a strong month for stock performance, although the last two Januarys have been terrible," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with Harris Private Bank in Chicago. "This is one January where I'm hopeful we're back to our historical pattern again."

Bankruptcies top 1.5 million in 2010

The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy in 2010 ticked up 9% over the previous year to more than 1.53 million, industry groups said Monday.

The number of consumers filing for bankruptcy has increased each year since 2005, when bankruptcy laws were revamped, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

The 2010 figure far outpaces the 1,407,788 total consumer filings that were recorded during 2009, a trend that the American Bankruptcy Institute attributes to high debt and a stagnant economy.

Treasuries start the year lower

It may be a new year, but U.S. Treasury prices are picking up right where they left off in 2010 - lower.

As stocks jumped Monday, the price on the benchmark U.S. Treasury 10-year note fell - pushing the yield up to 3.35%, from 3.30% late Friday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Yields for the 30-year bond rose on Monday to 4.41% from 4.33%, while the two-year note ticked up to 0.61% from 0.60%. The five-year note climbed to 2.02% from 2.01%.

Prices trended sharply lower during the second half of 2010, as the economy showed signs of improvement and stocks gained momentum.

Stocks and bonds tend to move in opposite direction. When investors feel more confident about the economy, they are more willing to shift into riskier, and higher yielding, assets.

- reporters Annalyn Censky, Charles Riley and Blake Ellis contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mmmmm

    not buying it: there a little, bitty man standing on the head of a tall, bald-headed guy pushing the numbers higher...

    January 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |

    time to rip off all the old people 401k's again..

    January 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fiona

    Jeez, leave my Mum's paltry income alone!

    January 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |

    the days of getting ripped off a little bit are gone.. they want it all now.

    January 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    @RuffNutt: That's right!

    January 4, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. michaelfury

    Can you beat $100+ million in 102 minutes?

    January 4, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. really?

    Oh oh, something really bad is going to happen if these Wall Street jerks are this happy.

    January 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |