At the closing bell, the Dow was up 96 points (it retreated a bit from earlier in the session). It was another new record high and, as usual, everyone was trying to come up with an explanation. And, as usual, there were plenty - including strong earnings by Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. But there also was some weird talk among traders that the rally might have been connected somehow to the hospitalization of South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson. Apparently, the logic is that should Johnson die or be forced to resign, the Senate would be back in GOP hands - supposedly a good thing for Wall Street. As Marketbeat's David Gaffen points out, this makes little sense on several counts. First off, the thing that Wall Street hates most is uncertainty and what's more uncertain than not knowing who will be controlling the Senate? But even if the Republicans were to take over, it wouldn't change much. I mean, do you really believe Congress is going to get anything through in the next two years?
Local stocks: A surprisingly mixed session for Socal companies considering the overall market rally. Among the biggest gainers, Hilton was up 3.7 percent around closing time - perhaps in response to its bullish forecast on Wednesday. Oxy was up nearly 4 percent. Among the losers were Ryland, DirecTV, KB and California Pizza Kitchen - each down just a touch. Edison had a notably down day, off around 4 percent.