HOW GOOD? Stocks had a big quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 8 percent. Gains were 12 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and almost 19 percent for the Nasdaq. On Friday, the Dow rose 66 points, or a half-percent. The S&P 500 rose five points, or 0.4 percent, while the Nasdaq posted a slight loss.
SINCE HOW LONG? It was the S&P's best quarter since 2009, and its best first quarter since 1998. The Nasdaq's gain was its best to start the year since 1991.
HOW COME? Stocks have rallied from October lows as investors have decided that profits are improving and Europe appears to be managing its debt problems. Friday's gains were driven by news that consumer spending accelerated last month.