The Dow hits eight-month high

Entertainment conglomerates see gains

NEW YORK -- The Dow on Thursday closed above the 9,000 mark for the first time since January and joined the broad-based S&P 500 index in hitting an eight-month closing high.

Big media and entertainment stocks were among the big gainers of the day, with most of them outperforming the S&P 500.

Buoying the markets were stronger-than-expected earnings reports from the likes of AT&T and Ford Motor Co. early in the day. That and higher-than-forecast home resales figures boosted investors' confidence that the long recession has indeed bottomed out.

But after the market close, such firms as Microsoft and saw their stocks decline amid disappointing results, potentially setting the market up for a weaker Friday session.

Amid entertainment biggies, CBS Corp. shares finished 7% higher at $7.80, and Walt Disney's stock rose 5.6% to $26.80. Time Warner gained 4.1% to $27.88, while shares of Viacom Inc. climbed 3.2% to $25.57. Meanwhile, shares of News Corp. and Sony Corp. lagged their peers with gains of 2.2% to $11.62 and 2.4% to $25.28, respectively.

In comparison, the Dow gained 2.1%, and the S&P 500 rose 2.3%.