GE added 13 percent after losing the AAA ranking that it held since 1956, while Bank of America Corp. surged 19 percent. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. rose 3.1 percent after the government said retail sales beat estimates, indicating the biggest part of the economy is stabilizing. General Motors Corp. jumped 17 percent after saying it won’t need U.S. aid this month. Pfizer Inc. rallied 9.6 percent following success in a drug trial.
The S&P 500 Index increased 4.1 percent to 750.74, giving it an 11 percent surge since March 9 that’s the steepest over three days since November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 239.66 points, or 3.5 percent, to 7,170.06. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies advanced 6.5 percent to 390.12.
U.S. stocks have surged since the S&P 500 dipped to a 12- year low of 676.53 on March 9. Bank of America today joined two of its biggest competitors, JPMorgan and Citigroup Inc., in saying this week that it made money during the first two months of the year, rebounding from the worst year for financial institutions since the Great Depression.