For all the ups and downs these past few days, the Dow's trading range has been fairly narrow - generally between 12,500 to 12,900. That would suggest a holding pattern on Wall Street as investors try figuring out what's going on, and perhaps make a few bucks in the process. As you can see from the chart, the Dow is pretty much where it was earlier in the week. The ostensible explanation for today's 211-point gain is some good news out of the European Central Bank on Spanish debt. Frankly, it seems pretty incremental, especially with not-so-wonderful earnings and economic news in the U.S., but the market is at a point where it believes what it wants to believe. From the NYT:
The euro and European stocks rose sharply Thursday after Mario Draghi, president of the E.C.B., said in London, "Within our mandate, the E.C.B. is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro." His comments were interpreted by some to mean that the E.C.B. might resume intervening in bond markets to keep borrowing costs for Spain and Italy under control. The yield, or interest rate, on Spain's 10-year bond, the main gauge of Madrid's borrowing costs, fell markedly after Mr. Draghi spoke. So did the yield on Italy's bonds. And Spain's IBEX stock index rose 6.1 percent, leading a broad rally of European stocks that carried over to U.S. trading.