djia-small-052609.JPGRemember how the New York markets were expected to tank this morning, much as the Asian and European markets did, on news of the North Korea nuke launch? The breaking financial news was mixed — on the one hand, consumer confidence is up, but on the other, housing prices are still dropping though not as sharply month-to-month — and would not have been enough by itself to arrest the massive sell-off that was in the making.

The opening dithering of the Dow in the first shows this sort of hesitant sluggishness. But then, shortly after 10:15 am Eastern, the Dow took off like a rocket, and the other markets took off with it, zooming to a 200-point gain. (See the Google screen grab in the upper left-hand corner.)

What happened at 10:15 am Eastern Daylight Time? Why, the Sonia Sotomayor announcement, that’s what. Rush Limbaugh and Mike Huckabee might not like "Maria", but the markets apparently do.