EMI Group's stock had one of its best days in almost two years today (Feb. 5). During the day, EMI's share price rose to 243p, its highest point in 19 months. The stock closed the day at 231.25p -- up

EMI Group's stock had one of its best days in almost two years today (Feb. 5). During the day, EMI's share price rose to 243p, its highest point in 19 months. The stock closed the day at 231.25p -- up 4.4% over Wednesday's close. More than 24.8 million shares changed hands, vs. a daily average of 16.6 million.

Analysts says the gains reflect two factors: the company's strong overall performance in 2003, especially in the U.S., where it gained market share; and this week's announcement by Nielsen SoundScan that January album sales in the U.S. rose 10% from the same period last year.

"People are extrapolating from the double-digit growth in January and seeing that as evidence that the bounce seen in the fourth quarter was the start of a trend rather than one-off Christmas demand," explains a London-based media analyst.