Debt auctions by Spain, Greece and Europe’s bailout fund drew solid interest from investors, easing fears that recent credit-rating downgrades would prevent them from obtaining funds. The downgrades had threatened to increase borrowing costs and intensify the region’s debt crisis.
The Chinese government said earlier that its economy slowed less dramatically in the fourth quarter than analysts had expected.
There’s so much money sitting in short-term accounts and earning zero return that even a shred of good news can jolt the market higher, said David Kelly, chief market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds.
“The stock market is cheap, but cash and Treasurys are extremely expensive,” Kelly said. “That’s why even though people are busy taking money out of stocks and putting it into bond funds, they really should be doing the opposite.”
The Dow rose 60.01 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 12,482.07. It was the Dow’s highest close since July 26, before the European debt crisis set off months of wrenching volatility. The Dow is up 264 points in the first 10 days of the year, the best start to a year since 2003.