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Friday, November 4, 2011

US Stocks post a second day of gains (ext)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Stocks closed significantly higher Thursday, giving the market its second day of gains. Investors focused on the European Central Bank's surprise rate cut and mostly shrugged off fears over Greece.

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) moved up 208 points, or 1.8%. The S&P 500 (SPX) gained 23 points, or 1.9%, and the Nasdaq (COMP) added 58 points, or 2.2%.

Stock rallied from the start of trading following the rate cut, the ECB's first in two years. Political wrangling in Greece didn't deter investors. It remains unclear whether or not Greece will put its bailout to a public vote.

The ECB's rate cut gave investors some hope that incoming ECB President Mario Draghi might be more willing to intervene to buy bonds or take other steps to help the market. Still, Draghi steered clear of comment on that issue during his first press conference Thursday morning.

Draghi managed to also briefly rattle the markets when he said that Europe appeared poised to head into a mild recession. Stocks, however, quickly rebounded.

In late afternoon, the leader of the main Greek opposition party called for Prime Minister George Papandreou to step down and for snap elections to be held within six weeks. The move by Antonis Samaras undermines the idea that there is a consensus on the austerity measures attached to a European bailout package.

Worries about Greece had been tempered earlier in the day after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou backed off plans to hold a referendum on the nation's bailout, following an emergency cabinet meeting.

The dollar was lower against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery rose $1.56 to $94.07 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery rose $35.50 to $1,765.10 an ounce.

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