Stocks woke up Friday following news that President-Elect Barack Obama is expected to announce two key cabinet posts.
New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner is expected to be named Treasury Secretaryand New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Commerce Secretary.
Obama is expected to roll out his economic team on Monday and answer questions in an attempt to reassure the jittery market.
Obama's former Democratic primary rival, Hillary Clinton, is expected to be names Secretary of State after Thanksgiving.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied more than 300 points. The Nasdaqand S&P 500 index also advanced.
After an initial pop out of the gate Friday, the rest of the day was pretty lackluster until the announcement.
The previous session saw major indexes crash through key support levels — 7882 in the Dow and 777 in the S&P — as Congress hit the brakes on the auto bailout and uncertainty about the TARP plan continued to make investors queasy. Just a day earlier, the Dow broke through 8,000.
Citigroup shares fell below $4 a share, after earlier rallying back above $5. In the previous two sessions, the stock lost half of its value. CEO Vikram Pandit, aiming to swat down rumors that the company may be sold off in pieces, said the firm would not sell its Smith Barney brokerage unit.
As speculation mounts over Citi's future, some market pros say the market may not be nearing a bottom but ready to fall further.
Financials had a lock on the bottom three spots on the Dow, with Citigroiup the biggest drag, followed by JPMorgan and Bank of America .
General Motors and Ford turned lower. On Thursday, the Big Three CEOs were sent back to Detroit on their private jets without a bailout as Congress agreed to revisit the issue in December. Heeding Congress's warning, GM announced plans to sell two private jets.
Shares of Dell Computer skidded after the computer maker reported its earnings fell but beat expectations as cost-cutting measures and a rise in consumer sales helped offset weakness in corporate sales.
Meanwhile, Heinz reported its profit rose 22 percent, helped by price increases, currency hedging and strong sales in North America and emerging markets. The maker of Heinz ketchup, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen foods also backed its full-year forecast. Its shares slipped.
In the latest sign of how tough it is for retailers, AnnTaylorposted a lossas same-store sales tumbled 20 percent. The women's apparel chain also declined to offer an outlook for the crucial holiday-season quarter but said that margins would be under pressure in this highly promotional season. Its shares shed 13 percent.
Gap jumped 15 percent after the apparel chain beat expectationsand backed its full-year guidance, helped by inventory control and cost-cutting measures.
Wal-Mart , which has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the spending slowdown as shoppers flock to its everyday low prices, announced Friday that Mike Duke will succeed Lee Scott as CEO. Its shares rose about 2 percent.
>> To track how the holiday season is going, check out CNBC's Holiday Central blog.
People at risk of foreclosure will get a reprieve during the festive season as mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have suspended foreclosure sales between Nov. 26 and Jan. 9.