Stronger-than-expected corporate results and upbeat economic data drove U.S. stocks higher on Wednesday as they fed expectations the recovery will bolster corporate profits.
Deere & Co
The optimistic outlook on the economy was underpinned by data showing a six-month high in housing starts and a rise in industrial production in January.
We had good housing numbers and on the general market we're back to business as usual: earnings, said Alan Valdes, director of floor trading at Kabrik Trading in New York.
The results follow the upbeat trend in fourth-quarter U.S. corporate earnings, with more than 70 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies beating analyst estimates so far, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Keeping up with the trend, technology bellwether Hewlett-Packard Co
HP shares rose 0.5 percent to $50.60 in after-hours trading.
Healthcare stocks were among the biggest gainers during regular market hours as health insurance providers rebounded from recent declines. The Morgan Stanley healthcare payor index <.HMO>, down in six of the last seven weeks, jumped 1.9 percent, its largest daily gain since mid-January. WellPoint Inc
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 40.43 points, or 0.39 percent, to 10,309.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 4.64 points, or 0.42 percent, to 1,099.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 12.10 points, or 0.55 percent, to 2,226.29.
United Technologies Corp
Shares of Whole Foods Market Inc
Among the laggards were energy shares, which gave up some of the gains that led the market to its best day in three months on Tuesday.
Exxon Mobil Corp
A total of about 7.76 billion shares was traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below last year's estimated daily average of 9.65 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of about 2 to 1, and on the Nasdaq nearly three stocks rose for every two that fell.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)