U.S. stocks soared today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.25 percent and finished above 12,000 points for the first time in over two years at 12,040.16. The S&P 500 climbed 1.67 percent and finished over 1,300 points for the first time since mid-2008.

The Nasdaq finished up 2.05 percent, while oil, still affected by political turmoil in the Middle East, fell sharply by 1.61 percent. Gold finished up slightly by 0.48 percent. The 10-year bond yield ended the day slightly up by 0.07 percent.

The strong performance came on positive earnings reports and on news that the Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 60.8 points for January 2011 from 58.5 in December 2010.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) rose 5 percent on a strong earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2010.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) rose 4.02 percent in the wake of news that it, along with Morgan Stanley, will market $1.55 billion worth of commercial mortgage-backed loans.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) rose 4 percent as it released a positive report on global demand for oil between now and 2030. Its European competitor, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS), is up 3.32 percent.

British Petroleum (NYSE: BP), which announced that it will pay dividends again but not until after this month, finished up 1.07 percent.

Investors await tomorrow’s reaction to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he will finish out his term but not run for another, as well as earnings announcements by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY).