The Dow Jones industrials climbed to within striking distance of 10,000 on Wednesday for the first time in a year on better-than-expected company results and U.S. retail sales data.
Major indexes rose 1 percent, and the Dow's approach to the 10,000 level during a seven-month rally bolstered sentiment.
Before stocks opened, JPMorgan Chase & Co
Chip maker Intel Corp
JPMorgan's shares rose 3.2 percent to $47.13 and Intel's shares added 2.4 percent to $20.98.
The market, of course, is comprised of fundamentals, but a lot of what's happening now is psychological, said Paul Brigandi, vice president of trading at Direxion Funds in New York. Investors want tangible evidence of a recovery, he said.
People are looking forward to earnings proving that.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 107.77 points, or 1.09 percent, at 9,978.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 12.55 points, or 1.17 percent, to 1,085.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 23.15 points, or 1.08 percent, to 2,163.04.
The Dow came within 10 points of 10,000 early in the session and was last at that level in October 2008.
Underscoring optimism, a government report showed sales at U.S. retailers fell by a less-than-expected 1.5 percent in September. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a 2.1 percent drop.
The S&P retail index <.RLX> rose 1.4 percent.
Bank stocks got a boost from JPMorgan, with the S&P Financial index <.GSPF> up 2.45 percent, outperforming other sectors in the S&P.
Bank of America
Shares of Johnson & Johnson
Oil rose for a fifth straight day on Wednesday to $74.81, boosted by a weak U.S. dollar and surprisingly strong trade data in China, the world's second-largest oil user.
The Federal Reserve's minutes from its meeting of September 22-23 will be released at 2 p.m. EDT, with investors looking for signs of the Fed's thinking on the prospects for inflation.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)