GOLD FALLS TO EARTH, STOCKS RALLY AGAIN: Here’s What You Need To Know

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Three up days in a row, and two days until Bernanke’s big speech.But first, the scoreboard:

Dow: +131
NASDAQ: +21
S&P 500: +15

And now the top stories:

  • Japan suffered a credit downgrade from Moody’s and the country announced a $100 billion plan to curb the strengthening yen. Hilariously the yen withstood both events (though it did weaken against the surging dollar later in the day). The Nikkei ended down 1% with similar losses around Asia.
  • European markets traded up over 1% in another waiting day for the debt crisis, which saw Finland consider butting heads with Merkel and France introduce new austerity measures.
  • The U.S. received mixed data, with a beat on durable good and a miss on crude inventories, but market laggard Bank of America roared back to a seven-handle. The bank received more relief late after the antagonistic New York AG was kicked off a foreclosure panel. The rally picked up in the afternoon, and everyone is still counting on a gift from Bernanke on Friday.
  • Gold fell back to earth from a record $1913 an ounce on Monday to $1756. Read a fascinating guide to what moves gold >
  • There was also a bigger earthquake than yesterday, scary talk from Dick Cheney, and a new twist in Will Smith’s breakup.