U.S. stocks rose for a fifth straight day on Wednesday and the S&P 500 topped 1,200 as stronger-than-expected corporate results and March retail sales bolstered the outlook for profits.
JPMorgan was the top percentage gainer among Dow components, up 3.8 percent to $47.61, while Intel, also a Dow component, climbed nearly percent to $23.45.
The earnings have made it evident that we're in a recovery, and that's increased risk appetite, said Thomas Belesis, chief executive officer at John Thomas Financial in New York.
JPMorgan's results really eased concerns about the banking sector, and that bodes well for the economy in general.
Financial and technology sectors led gains on the broad S&P 500, which broke above 1,200 for the first time since September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed. The Nasdaq composite index advanced more than 1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 73.23 points, or 0.66 percent, at 11,092.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 9.32 points, or 0.78 percent, at 1,206.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 29.58 points, or 1.20 percent, at 2,495.57.
The 1,200 level was a technical resistance for the S&P and follows the Dow's finish above 11,000 on Monday. If it holds above 1,200 it could next find strong resistance at around 1,228, a 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the October 2007 to March 2009 decline, according to Reuters data.
The Fibonacci number is a widely used technical tool that can help identify the point at which asset prices will reverse.
Also boosting sentiment were March retail sales, which rose 1.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported, beating expectations for a 1.2 percent increase. The S&P retail index <.RLX> climbed 1.2 percent.
The strong earnings from JPMorgan and Intel follow a revenue disappointment from Dow component Alcoa
Also this week, earnings are due from Google
According to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, economic activity strengthened in most U.S. regions in March and early April except for St. Louis, where plans to close several plants were announced.
A note from analysts at Jefferies Equity Derivatives said the gap between implied volatility and realized volatility suggests investors are bracing for a more volatile market. The Volatility index <.VIX>, down 2.6 percent, is at its lowest since July 2007.
(Editing by James Dalgleish)