US stocks jumped yesterday, driving the S&P 500 to an eight-month closing high, after stricken lending giant <strong>CIT</strong> <strong>Group</strong> was thrown a lifeline to avoid bankruptcy, and investors bet corporate America would log another strong set of earnings this week.<br /><br />Broker upgrades of technology bellwethers, including <strong>Cisco Systems,</strong> propelled the Nasdaq to its ninth straight daily advance -- matching a streak from July 1998. The Nasdaq closed at a high for the year.<br /><br />CIT, a lender to nearly 1m small- and mid-sized US companies, reached a deal with bondholders for $3bn in emergency financing yesterday, sending shares of the firm soaring 78.6 per cent to $1.25. Investors were encouraged by signs that the CIT rescue was a private-sector measure instead of a government bailout.<br /><br />“The private money is really the smarter money. They are not going to go in there unless they think it’s going to work,” said Tom Alexander, head of Alexander Trading. “I think that’s a healthy sign for the market and a sign of liquidity and a willingness of private participants to step up to the plate.”<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 104.21 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 8,848.15. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 10.75 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 951.13. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 22.68 points, or 1.20 per cent, to 1,909.29.<br /><br />Yesterday’s rally extended the market’s recovery further above the 12-year lows in early March. The Nasdaq hit its highest close since October 2008, while the Dow registered its highest close since January 2009.<br /><br />Analysts who focus on technicals expect more upward momentum after the S&P 500 punched through near-term resistance at the 950 level.<br /><br />The earnings season is continuing to build up steam this week after a strong start from companies such as <strong>Goldman Sachs</strong> and <strong>Intel</strong>. <br /><br />Analysts at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised <strong>Caterpillar</strong> to a “buy” recommendation, saying the second quarter could mark a bottom for the construction sector’s woes. Caterpillar advanced 7.8 per cent to $36.65 and gave the top boost to the Dow, followed by <strong>United Technologies</strong> – another big manufacturer – up 2.2 per cent at $54.97.