Stocks closed their worst month in more than a year on an up note, with sharp gains in the last several days still not enough to repair the damage from a U.S. credit downgrade and fears of a coming recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 53.58 points, or 0.46 percent, at 11,613.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 5.97 points, or 0.49 percent, at 1,218.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 3.35 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,579.46.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy)