Markets respond to fed policy announcement. (Getty)

Stocks rose sharply Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve announced a $600 billion plan to stimulate the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 172.11, or 1.5 percent, to 11,387.24 in midday trading, a day after closing at its highest level since September 2008.The dollar fell against other currencies as traders anticipated lower U.S. interest rates because of the Fed's massive bond-buying program announced Wednesday. Commodities prices including crude oil rose. Retailers reported solid sales in October, sending shares of major retailing companies sharply higher. Gap Inc. rose 6.1 percent, while Macy's Inc. jumped 4.1 percent. "Those retail numbers are telling us that the holiday season is going to get off to a good start," said Stephen Jones, the chairman of Jones Villalta Funds. Well, that's good, since it has been all doom and gloom up until yesterday. By the way, great timing on announcing the stimulus. Not.

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