Shares of banks with strong capital markets businesses rallied for a second day Wednesday, as investors continued to react to a strong earnings report by Merrill Lynch & Co.

Shares of J.P. Morgan & Co., which have long behaved more like those of an investment bank than of a commercial bank, rose 6.19% to $123.375, after staying flat at $116.1875 Tuesday, when Merrill announced that its fourth-quarter profit had doubled from 1998, to $764 million.

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