The stock market stumbled toward the finish line today, but Wall Street still managed to put together its best two-day performance in almost a year.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index added another 9 points to Friday's 20-point advance, closing at 1,207.01.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which gained 173 points on Friday, tacked on 37 more today, rising to 10,440.07.
The Nasdaq Stock Market turned in an even stronger performance than Friday, closing at 2,120.30--up 30 points today on top of Friday's 26-point climb.
Last November was the last time stocks had such a strong two-day advance, encouraging Wall Streeters to hope that the market has finally turned the corner.
The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite all fell around 1 percent in October. But bulls pointed to research by Merrill Lynch showing that when the market is down in October, 80 percent of the time, it has come back in November and December.
Analysts passed around credit for today's big gain. Some said falling oil prices are helping lift stock prices. Others said merger talk helped--particularly the proposal to combine Placer Dome and Barrick Gold, Canada's two biggest gold mining companies. Government reports on consumer spending were also seen as a plus for stocks, even though sales actually fell when adjusted for inflation.
One thing Wall Street did not seem at all worried about was tomorrow's meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, the group that sets interest rates.
It's widely assumed the Fed will crank up short term rates by another quarter of a point--the 12th increase in a row.
Mere talk of higher rates has held back the market in the past, but today's trading showed no sign of Fear of The Fed.