NEW YORK (AP) - Stock prices closed sharply higher on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 359 points to 8,924.14. Gainers on the New York Stock Exchange outnumbered losers by a nearly 6-to-1 margin.
The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 81 points at 1,589.89. And the S&P 500 Stock Index was up 44 points at 913.18.
Trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 5.6 billion shares. Volume on the Nasdaq Market came to 2.1 billion shares.
Surprised investors jumped at the Federal Reserve's historic decision to slash its target for a key interest to a record-low range and took comfort from the central bank's pledge to use "all available tools" to jump-start the economy.
Stocks were already up more than 1 percent ahead of the announcement, and surged even more after it. Demand for long-term
government bonds increased and pushed yields to record lows.
Wall Street was clearly caught off-guard by the Fed's decision to lower its target for the rate at which banks lend each other money to a range of zero to one-quarter of a percent.
Many analysts had expected the Fed to make a smaller cut. The central bank also cut the lending rate for loans directly to banks.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)