U.S. stocks edged higher in bumpy trading on Wednesday as a rise in technology shares helped temper unease about whether the government would soon lay out a plan to restore confidence in the banking system.
After the market close on Tuesday, the best day for stocks since late November, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he wanted to make it compelling for banks to cleanse balance sheets of 'toxic', hard-to-sell assets and would quickly work out details for financing bad asset sales.
Geithner is scheduled to hold a briefing at 1 p.m. EDT ahead of a weekend meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 rich nations but investors became skeptical he would address the bank plan.
You're not going to get a plan. If anybody is looking for a plan today, they are seriously mistaken, said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.
I don't know why people think you're going to get a solution overnight when it took years to get into the problem. But what people want is some sort of addressing of the issue, that 'hey this is a major problem.' You need to build some confidence.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 12.35 points, or 0.18 percent, to 6,938.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 2.63 points, or 0.37 percent, to 722.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 8.86 points, or 0.65 percent, to 1,367.14.
A higher close in the S&P 500 would mark its first two-day advance in a month and a follow a strong rally in the market on Tuesday in a bounce from 12-year lows.
Even though bank stocks were off their session highs, a rise in technology shares helped cushion the market with Hewlett-Packard
Shares of Bank of America
On Nasdaq, shares of computer makers led gains following the HP news, and Apple Inc
(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by James Dalgleish)