Wall Street wipes away the tears as Dow surges

Citigroup struts, Ben Bernanke turns optimistic, and the stock market gets giddy. So is Obama now a genius?

Published March 10, 2009 8:05PM (EDT)

So Citigroup claims that it has been profitable the first two months of 2009, and Ben Bernanke suggests that the Federal Reserve may take a look at accounting standards, and the stock market goes berserk with joy. All major stock market indexes rose sharply -- the Dow Jones Industrial average closed at 6926.49, up 379.44, or 5.8 percent.

For comparison purposes, a 5.6 percent jump back in October 2007, when the Dow hit its all time high of 14,164.53, would have implied a rise of around 821 points. That would have been considered a pretty big day, back in the day.

But still, the news hooks seem like slender threads upon which to base a rally. A report in the Wall Street Journal that the Treasury Department is discussing "contingency plans" for yet another Citigroup bailout seems good cause for more panic, rather than euphoria. And Bernanke's hint that mark-to-market accounting rules might need to be tweaked (although not "suspended") seems uncomfortably close to attempting to paper over the toxic asset nightmare with some bookkeeping sleight-of-hand. But for now, let's all tune in to CNBC, to see if Jim Cramer is preaching the new gospel of Obama. Because, you know, if investors are happy, the president must suddenly be doing a great job.  Right?

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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