Stocks rose sharply on Wednesday, after strong results at Intel Corp lifted shares of chip makers while boosting hopes for an economic recovery and a rebound in technology spending.

The New York Fed's Empire State index for July added to positive sentiment, showing business conditions in the state are at their strongest since April 2008.

Intel, a Dow component, surged 7.3 percent to $18.05 on Nasdaq a day after it reported second-quarter results that beat expectations and gave a strong outlook.

The results lifted Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices 9.3 percent to $3.88 on the New York Stock Exchange. The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOXX> shot up 3.9 percent to 280.16.

The strong quarter at Intel follows a number of other positive results from bellwethers such as Alcoa Inc and Johnson & Johnson , two Dow components, as well as financial giant Goldman Sachs .

Based on the results that have already come out, investors are definitely more optimistic about the earnings season, said Rob Stein, managing partner at Astor Asset Management in Chicago.

Investors are also optimistic by the general way earnings are compared, he said, noting that upcoming quarters will benefit from easy year-over-year comparisons, which could drive further optimism for stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 180.24 points, or 2.16 percent, to 8,539.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 18.78 points, or 2.07 percent, to 924.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> jumped 48.18 points, or 2.68 percent, to 1,847.91.

An insight on how the Federal Reserve arrived at its recent assessment of the economy's outlook is expected, with minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's latest policy meeting due at 2 p.m. EDT.

Stein said many investors were looking ahead to the FOMC's minutes for further direction on the economy.

Not all reports were positive. Drug maker Abbott Laboratories sank 3.2 percent to $45 after it reported second-quarter revenue that missed expectations and failed to raise its full-year profit outlook as some investors had hoped.

Earlier on Wednesday, government data also showed that June consumer prices rose at a slightly faster-than-expected pace, with most of the increase coming from a leap in gasoline prices, though the core measure of inflation remained relatively tame.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)