The Dow Jones industrials neared the 10,000 milestone on Wednesday for the first time in a year as robust results from JPMorgan Chase & Co and Intel Corp boosted the outlook for earnings.
Major indexes gained more than 1 percent, and the Dow's reclaiming the psychological 10,000 level could convince some doubters of the durability of the stock market's seven-month rally.
We are seeing new highs, thanks to Intel last night and JPMorgan this morning. People are more comfortable with seeing this market rally further, said Steve Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.
JPMorgan's shares rose 3.8 percent to $47.37 and chip maker Intel's
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 114.12 points, or 1.16 percent, at 9,985.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 13.42 points, or 1.25 percent, at 1,086.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 25.93 points, or 1.21 percent, at 2,165.82.
The Dow came within 10 points of 10,000 and was last at that level in October 2008.
The CBOE Volatility Index <.VIX>, a measure of anticipated volatility using options, fell 2.83 percent to its lowest level since early September 2008, which was just before the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.
Underscoring optimism that the worst of the recession was over, 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 1.5 percent.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson
Oil rose for a fifth straight day on Wednesday to a 2009 high above $75 a barrel, 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. (1800 GMT), with investors looking for signs of the Fed's thinking on the prospects for inflation.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)