The Dow Jones industrial average finally crawled back into positive territory for the year today, closing higher than where it began the year. It was the first time since March that it finished the day higher than the year-end mark.

The Dow gained despite the continuing decline of the stock of General Motors, whose problems have been holding back the Dow for months. GM stock slipped again today after the corporation announced plans to cut 30,000 workers, close a dozen plants and kill several models.

Today's 54-point gain pushed the Dow to 10,820.28, which left the blue chip index up 0.4 percent since New Year's Eve.

While the Dow is finally above the break-even point for the year, it is still short of the 10,940 peak it hit last spring and continues to lag behind other measures of the market.

The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index and the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index were trading at four-year highs after today's gains.

Advancing almost 15 points today to 2,241.67, the Nasdaq Composite is up 3 percent for the year.

The S&P 500 is up 3.5 percent for the year after today's 7-point gain pushed the index to 1,254.85.

Today's gains kept Wall Street's year-end rally moving forward, although traders cautioned that short holiday weeks such as this one rarely produce big changes in the market.

The rally was helped by the index of leading economic indicators, which rose in October for the first time in four months.

The index is supposed to predict what's ahead for the U.S. economy four to six months from now.