(ABC NEWS) -- The average American investor wakes up this morning a little wealthier.
The Dow Jones soared nearly 500 points, closing above the 12,000 mark.
It was the biggest gain since March of 2009.
"Is this the Santa Claus rally everyone's been wondering about?" wonders Stephen Guilfoyle of Meridian Equity Partners. "It's little early for that. but it certainly could be."
A couple of major factors led to stocks blasting off yesterday.
Number one, the Federal Reserve and major central banks announced a coordinated effort to lower borrowing costs and prevent a global credit crisis, something they hope will prevent another recession.
Number two, a positive outlook for American jobs. The government's monthly jobs report is due out tomorrow.
But a report out yesterday says American companies hired 206,000 new workers last month, the best month for hiring in nearly a year.
"Over half the jobs came from the small business sector," says Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial. "And that suggests that we're starting to see new business formation pick up, which is critical to have sustained recovery going forward."
Another good sign for the economy: Americans have been buying.
A record number took advantage of early bargains.
Retail sales for the four-day holiday weekend, starting with Thanksgiving Day, rose almost 9 percent from last year.
Economists are watching to see whether the trend continues through the holidays.
After Wall Street's rollercoaster ride the past four months, expects say Americans should stick to their financial plans and not peek at their portfolios every day.