Wall Street rallied as it neared the closing bell today, making up for almost half of Monday's losses.

The markets cheered up after a pair of private surveys showed corporate executives and economists are expecting business to get better next year and the Federal Reserve said the economy is strong enough that there is no need for another cut in interest rates.

"With the economy working its way through its current soft spot," the nation is beginning to benefit from earlier rate cuts, the Fed said.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day with a 101 point gain at 8,574.26.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 12 points at 904.41.

And the Nasdaq stock market's composite index rose 24 points to 1,390.72.

One motivation for the market came from the Institute for Supply Management, the industry group that has managed to make its member surveys an indicator of the economy's health.

A semi-annual sampling of purchasing managers showed that 70 percent of manufacturing and service companies expect their sales to increase next year.

That forecast "should be received as a source of optimism," said Norbert Ore, who is chairman of the supply management survey.

The other optimistic outlook came in the latest Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of business economists. They predicted a turnaround in business investment in new equipment. After cutting their capital spending nearly 6 percent this year, corporations will increase it by between 3 percent and 4 percent next year, the survey found.

Some investors also cheered because the White House has found someone to fill the crucial job of chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The choice is William Donaldson, one of the founders of Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette, the investment firm now owned by Credit Suisse First Boston.

One of the first to endorse Donaldson was James Cramer, founder of Thestreet.com and co-host of the Kudlow & Cramer show on CNBC. A Wall Street trader before he became a market watcher, Cramer called Donaldson, "savvy, honest, tough, knowledgeable, respected."