Market sees strongest one-year rally since 1936

ONE year to the day after stocks fell to their worst close in more than 12 years, the US market spent most of yesterday spinning its wheels.

Major US averages ended slightly higher as falling commodity prices pressured materials stocks, offsetting gains in the telecom and industrial sectors.

But the weakest financial companies dominated market activity, as Citigroup, American International Group and others ran up on strong volume amid speculation that regulators could consider clamping down on short sales of specific issues.

“There’s a huge rotation taking place today into financials, telecoms and some of the underperforming areas of the market,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

“The market is in an up trend here, pushing toward her highs.”

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11.86 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 10,564.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged up 1.95 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 1,140.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.47 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 2,340.68.

One year ago, the economic crisis dragged stocks to their lowest in more than 12 years. The S&P 500 is up 68.5 per cent since then -- the strongest one-year rally since 1936, according to Standard & Poor’s.