Hope for a resolution to Europe's debt crisis and decent US jobs data boost the Dow and S&P 500 to 4-year highs. The Nasdaq hits a 12-year top. Jobless claims fall, and ADP says private employers added 201,000 workers in August.
But the Dow crawls back nearly to break even as the Federal Reserve extends a small stimulus move because of job growth and European worries. It promises more action if conditions worsen. Asian stocks drop on a weak China manufacturing report.
The blue chips rebound from a brief 108-point loss. As Spain rescues one of its biggest banks, Standard & Poor's see its economy worsening. Consumer confidence strengthens. Facebook and Apple weigh on the Nasdaq. Gold and crude oil move higher.
The blue chips are briefly up more than 400 points. Announcement of a deal to fix Europe's debt crisis sets off a global rally. US growth improves but is still anemic. Higher oil prices boost Exxon profits.
The apparel retailer will shutter 189 stores by the end of 2013. While profits at home are getting squeezed, the company sees better opportunities abroad, especially in China.
The largest automakers saw double-digit sales gains for the month, but in some cases that still wasn't enough for Wall Street.
The blue chips plunge, then take off, after the central bank says a weak economy will keep rates low well into the future. Bank of America rebounds from steep losses. Apple's market cap briefly beats Exxon's.
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With the universe of this category in its seasonal sweet spot, these picks have tailwinds propelling them into the new year.
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
MONEY & POLITICS
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
The IRS is struggling to combat identify thieves who file fraudulent tax returns in the names of older residents who don't need to file.