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Wall Street cheers on plan to aid banks
Updated: 2009-03-24 00:15

NEW YORK - Wall Street soared Monday as the US government revealed details of a plan to help banks remove as much as US$1 trillion in bad assets from their balance sheets.

The US Treasury Department on Monday announced a plan to revive lending that would rely on the government's US$700 billion of financial rescue fund, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as private investors.

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Big banks such as Citigroup, JPMorgan climbed over 10 percent in early trading, as investors bet that the new plan will buy toxic assets that are weighing on banks' balance sheets.

Moreover, stocks extended gains after the existing home sales beat estimates. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes grew 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 4.72 million last month, from 4.49 million units in January. It was the largest sales jump since July 2003.

The Dow Jones rose 277.81 to 7566.19. Broader indexes also moved sharply higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 29. 31 to 797.85 and the Nasdaq rose 50.63 to 1,507.90.