Fed Says Recession Easing, Markets Soar
Reassurances from the Federal Reserve that the recession is easing lifted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow leaping 168 points to 8185. Nasdaq surged 38 points to 1711.

On the upside

Although first quarter earnings for Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE) barely edged up, revenue rose to surpass expectations.

First quarter earnings for Arthur J. Gallagher (NYSE: AJG) beat estimates by a wide margin.

Affiliated Managers Group (NYSE: AMG) reported sharply lower first quarter earnings but the results topped estimates.

On the downside

VisionChina Media (Nasdaq: VISN) reported higher first quarter earnings as revenue surged but the stock price fell as investors locked in profits.

First quarter earnings for Carter's (NYSE: CRI) rose to surpass expectations but the children's clothing maker warned that second quarter results will fall as sales drop.

Olympic Steel (Nasdaq: ZEUS) swung to a loss for the first quarter as demand tumbled and cut its quarterly dividend.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 9 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 18 points to 491.

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