Market Recap: Dow Breaks 12,000 in Rally Fueled by Central Banks

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +4.23%, S&P +4.33%, Nasdaq +4.17%, Oil +0.60%, Gold +1.83%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $100.39 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,750.40 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 2.94% to settle at $32.89.

Hot Feature: Pent-up Demand and Record Low Interest Rates Give Pending Home Sales a Boost

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Central banks. Stocks staged a huge rally today after the Federal Reserve and five of the world’s major central banks issued a joint statement saying that they would take coordinated steps to prevent a global liquidity crunch as the euro zone fights to end the debt crisis. The Federal Reserve said it will work with the European Central Bank, as well as the central banks of Britain, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland, to boost liquidity and support the global economy.

2) Jobs. The private sector added 206,000 jobs in November for the biggest gain since December 2010, according to the ADP National Employment Report. Figures reported Wednesday far surpassed economists’ expectations for a gain of 130,000 jobs, prompting them to raise their forecasts for Friday’s more comprehensive report from the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes both public and private sector employment.

3) Banks. Bank stocks rallied on news of the central banks’ plans as investors ignored Standard & Poor’s downgrade of big bank stocks that came Tuesday evening. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Citigroup (NYSE:C), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) all shot up more than 7% in trading today, while Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which hit a 52-week low on Tuesday, moved up 7.30% by closing bell.

BONUS: Euro Leaders Will Seek Greater Role for IMF and ECB in Fighting Crisis