NEW YORK - Wall Street resumed its climb yesterday, rising in late trading as a surge in the prices of gold and other commodities led investors to snap up energy and materials stocks.
But the market's closing levels masked the day's confusion. Investors had sent stocks higher until midafternoon on expectations of a bailout for the Detroit automakers, but the market forfeited that advance on signs that the plan was running into opposition from Republican lawmakers. Investors then plowed back into stocks as they saw the rebound in commodities.
Gold picked up $34.70 an ounce to close at $807.10 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, lifted by a weaker dollar and signs that investors seemed to be more willing to take on risk. Oil prices also rose on the Nymex, settling up $1.45 at $43.52.
In turn, companies that make money from commodities, including Exxon Mobil Corp., which rose 2.39 percent, and mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., which added 15.96 percent, rallied, boosting the rest of the stock market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 70.09, or 0.81 percent, to 8,761.42. On Tuesday, the Dow shed 242 points on disappointing corporate news. But the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 index have now advanced in 10 of the last 13 sessions.
The S&P 500 index rose 10.57, or 1.19 percent, to 899.24, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 18.14, or 1.17 percent, to 1,565.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 10.69, or 2.30 percent, to 476.40.
Since reaching multiyear trading lows Nov. 20, the Dow has risen 16 percent, and the broader S&P 500 has risen 19.5 percent. The Nasdaq is up 19 percent.
The market was also watching American International Group Inc., which said yesterday that it was trying to work out plans to square away $10 billion lost in bad trades without turning to taxpayers for more money.
That fed worries that other financial houses might be facing their own troubles after placing wrong bets in the unforgiving markets in recent months. The concerns rippled through financial-services stocks, causing banks, including Citigroup Inc., to give up early gains.
AIG fell 18 cents, or 9.33 percent, to $1.75, while Citigroup fell 24 cents, or 2.81 percent, to $8.30 and JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 44 cents, or 1.30 percent, to $33.52. Morgan Stanley fell 37 cents, or 2.47 percent, to $14.60.