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Wall Street opens sharply higher

The Associated Press

NEW YORK ” Wall Street extended its rally into a second session Monday as investors grew optimistic that President-elect Barack Obama’s plan for a huge infrastructure spending package will help boost the crippled economy.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 225.64, or 2.61 percent, to 8,861.06 after rising 259 points on Friday.

Obama announced over the weekend plans for the largest U.S. public works spending program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago. That could bolster the economy by putting thousands of people to work building schools and other construction projects.

Investors also appeared more comfortable that the government is closer to legislation that would dole out billions to America’s three biggest automakers within a week. Congress is expected to pass a $15 billion bailout for Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and Chrysler as soon as Tuesday.

Oil prices bounced off four-year lows after OPEC’s president suggested the group could surprise investors with a large production cut later this month. Light, sweet crude rose $2.91 to $43.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.