After rising in the first 30 minutes of trading, stocks began a slow descent until about 14:30 EDT. From there stocks staged a rally for about an hour, but traded lower in the last 30 minutes on the second highest volume of the day. Overall, stocks still managed to finish trading higher for a second straight day for the first time since Feb. 5 and 6.
Financial stocks again led the market higher. Citigroup gained 7.24% to $1.56 while Bank of America rose 4.18% to $4.99. The KBW regional bank index was higher by 3.05%.
At Wednesday's close of floor trading on the NYSE, the DOW was on 6930.40 with a gain of 3.91 points (0.06%) while the S&P finished on 721.36, up 1.76 points (0.24%). The technology-heavy NASDAQ closed on 1371.64 after gaining 13.36 points (0.98%).
The dollar trended lower across the board as stocks advanced. The greenback ended up finishing the session with a loss of 1.41% to the euro, 1.37% against the yen, 0.79% on Australia's currency and 0.97% to sterling.
Treasuries rose as 10-year note yields at 3% lured investors after the government completed the second of three auctions this week that will raise $63 billion. Yield on the 2-year note fell 4.8 basis points to 1.019% while yield on the 10-year note lost 8.8 basis points to 2.915%.
Crude for March delivery was recently trading down $2.79 (-6.10%) to $42.32 per barrel after the weekly inventory report showed stockpiles built more than expected.
Gold for April delivery was recently trading up $8.70 (0.97%) to $904.30 per ounce.