Stocks Rally

The major indexes pushed higher as energy prices dropped, and a service-sector gauge showed unexpected strength

Stocks finished with strong gains on Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend, as oil and gas prices continued to retreat and the floodwaters in New Orleans started to recede. A report showed better than expected strength in the services sector. Also boosting equities: Fed funds futures were pricing in a pause or halt in the Federal Reserve's monetary tightening cycle by November or December, reflecting expectations the Fed will stay accomodative in order to bolster the economy in the wake of the Katrina disaster, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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