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US Stock Market Extends Rally - 2003-03-22


In New York Friday, the stock market closed up more than 200 points, capping off its best week since October of 1982. Expectations of a quick resolution to the conflict in Iraq fueled the rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 8,521, up 235 points. It has gone up 13 percent over the past eight days, the most dramatic eight-day increase since December of 1988.

Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, a risk consultant firm, says that positive attitudes about "Operation Iraqi Freedom" are driving market highs. But he is uncertain that the trend will last.

"You know the war is going to go well," he said. "You know who the victor is going to be. You know that Hussein, sooner or later, is going to be dead or captured. But you don't know what the international reaction is, and how bad the Middle East is going to look. And I think that's the story for the next week."

Other stock market analysts believe that there may be more to the rally than devastating U.S. air assaults and speculation on the downfall of the Iraqi regime.

Mike Pilazzi, a trader for the SG Cowen Company, says the rally has lasting power. "Of course, we are going to be driven by what we see over the weekend, but there certainly seems to be some underlying buying power," he said.

The other two major market gauges, the technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite and the broader Standard's and Poor Index also closed in positive territory, the S&P finishing its longest eight-day gain in six years.

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