On Wednesday consumer product shares rose in a late rally as the recession revealed signs that it could be coming to an end.

Stocks rallied in the last hour of trade as investors looked for stocks that could benefit from a rebound.

Technology stocks lagged after Intel Corp.'s tightlipped forecast caused jitters about a corner of the market that had drawn buyers over the past month.

At the close of the day’s trading, the Dow Jones industrial average ended with a gain of 109 points.

Money flowed into stocks like Procter & Gamble Co., which boosted its dividend, and American Express Co., which said it is having to write off less bad debt.

Lackluster economic readings early in the day offered reminders of the economy's troubles. But other signs emerged that the economy could be stabilizing as the day wore on.

Stocks have been pushed up by more than 20 percent in the past five weeks as a result of the idea that the recession is at least not worsening.

The government reported that production at the nation's factories, mines and utilities fell 1.5 percent in March, the fifth straight month of decline and worse than the 1 percent dip analysts expected.

Consumer prices fell 0.1 percent last month as a drop in energy prices offset the biggest rise in tobacco prices in more than a decade. It was better than the 0.1 percent rise economists had expected but still reflected weaker business activity.