Stocks rose on Wednesday, shrugging off earlier losses, after Kraft raised its outlook and a brokerage upgraded Merck & Co. in welcome signs about future earnings.
Major indexes had temporarily fallen after a government report showed crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected, a bearish sign for demand in the world's largest energy consumer.
The biggest boost to the Dow came from Merck, the second-largest U.S. drug company. Its shares were up 4.1 percent to $39.07 after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 54.87 points, or 0.52 percent, to 10,682.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.61 points, or 0.67 percent, to 1,143.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 16.56 points, or 0.73 percent, to 2,299.14.
Also lifting sentiment was Kraft Foods Inc
The outlook suggests that Kraft should do very well in the upcoming earnings season, said Joe Gordon, managing partner of Gordon Asset Management in Durham, North Carolina.
It shows that they're going to make a lot of money, and that comes as people are concerned about whether companies will grow revenue in the quarter.
Crude oil prices slipped 0.8 percent to $80.13 per barrel, and Chevron Corp
The heads of Wall Street's biggest banks defended the lucrative pay practices and size of their businesses but conceded regulatory changes are needed before a blue-ribbon commission investigating the 2008 financial crisis.
The KBW bank index rose 1.9 percent, a day after investors sold financials on concerns about a potential government levy on banks.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)