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US stocks close at session highs; Yahoo earnings, Fed feed rally

U.S. stocks on Wednesday climbed for a third session after U.S. industrial production rose more than projected, Yahoo's earnings topped estimates and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated the central bank would keep up its backing of the recovery.

Stocks held most of their gains as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addressed the Economic Club of New York Wednesday afternoon and after the release of the Fed's Beige Book, which found the U.S. economy bounced back from weather-related declines in recent weeks, with modest or moderate economic activity in eight of the Fed's districts.

Read MoreBeige Book: Economy sees rebound from weather-related declines

"The economy is still moving forward. What is happening in the marketplace is outside the scope of the Beige Book; what you're seeing in the marketplace is a question of valuation," said Frank Fantozzi, CEO of Planned Financial Services in Cleveland, Ohio.

In her speech, Yellen reiterated her intention to support the recovery even as the labor market improves, with the 6.7 percent unemployment rate in March still a percentage point higher than the central bank's projection of full employment.

"There is general skittishness, (and,) one of the more important things really is options expiration has moved up a day, so there's a ton of intraday volatility. Also we have some big earnings tonight and tomorrow," JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, said of the market's recent swings.

Read MoreYellen: Fed will keep rates low even when the economy recovers

"It's a big day today, we've got 17 out of the S&P 500 reporting, and so far it's been more good than bad. There is more positive forward guidance than negative, so things will pick up in the second half of the year," said Chris Gaffney, EverBank senior market strategist.

"And, we had industrial production come out on a positive note this morning, supporting the notion that the economy is heating up with the weather," Gaffney said.


Yahoo surged after reporting robust sales at Alibaba Group Holding, the Chinese e-commerce company in which it holds a 24 percent stake. Intelgained a day after the chip manufacturer reported a quarterly profit that surpassed Wall Street estimates.

"Earnings aren't as terrible as people thought they were going to be," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

Bank of America fell after posting a first-quarter loss as the lender settled claims tied to mortgage bonds. PNC Financial Services Group rose after the regional bank reported first-quarter profit that beat expectations.

Economic data had U.S. manufacturing output rising for a second straight month in March, with factory production up 0.5 percent last month and overall industrial production climbing 0.7 percent, beating expectations.

Another report from the Commerce Department had the pace of U.S. home construction bouncing back less than expected last month, with the data coming after a report Tuesday that showed homebuilder confidence rising less than projected in April.

Read MoreU.S. industry shows some vigor, but housing soft

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
---
S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 162.29 points, or 1 percent, to 16,424.85, with Visa pacing gains that had 26 of the index's 30 components rising.

The S&P 500 jumped 19.33 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,862.31, with industrials leading gains that extended to all 10 of its major sectors.

The Nasdaq climbed 52.06 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,086.23. The technology-heavy index during Tuesday's session fell to within 0.3 percent from a 10 percent correction from its March 6 high.

For every share on the decline, four rose on on the New York Stock Exchange, where 675 million shares traded. Composite volume approached 3.2 billion.

Factset Symbol Name Value
MKT.CVOL-BATY BATY Composite Volume 1838000000
MKT.CVOL-BATS BATS Composite Volume 300000
MKT.CVOL-CBO CBOE Composite Volume 703500000
MKT.CVOL-CHI CHICAGO Composite Volume 870200000
MKT.CVOL-EDGX EDGX Composite Volume 1844800000
MKT.CVOL-EDGA EDGA Composite Volume 1838800000
MKT.CVOL-ADF FINRA Composite Volume 1847100000
MKT.CVOL-BOS NASDAQ OMX BX 1835800000
MKT.CVOL-PHL NASDAQ OMX PSX 1792000000
MKT.CVOL-CIS NATIONAL Composite Volume 1692700000
MKT.CVOL-NYS NYSE Composite Volume 3157800000
MKT.CVOL-ASE MYSE MKT Composite Volume 93600000
MKT.CVOL-PSE NYSE ARCA Composite Volume 945000000
MKT.CVOL-NAS NASDAQ Composite Volume 1853100000
MKT.CVOL-OTC OTC BB Composit Volume 568400000
Total 20881100000

Data from China had the world's second-largest economy expanding by 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, slowing from a 7.7 percent increase in the final quarter of last year.

"I don't think we're going to see a hard landing in China," said Gaffney, who added that the country is taking steps to shore up their economy as it transitions from one driven by exports to one fueled by consumption.

Read MoreChina Q1 GDP growth slows to 7.7 percent.

The dollar fell against the currencies of major US trading partners and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumers loans added 2 points to 2.637 percent.

Crude-oil futures for May delivery rose 1 cent to $103.76 a barrel; gold futures for June delivery settled $3.20 higher at $1,303.50 an ounce. The precious metal fell below its 200-day moving average on Tuesday, its worst session since December.

On Tuesday, stocks turned higher, with the Nasdaq making its largest rebound in five years on upbeat earnings from Dow components Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson.

Google and IBM are among the technology companies that report later Wednesday.

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson

Coming Up This Week:

Thursday

Earnings: General Electric, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, DuPont, Union Pacific, Pepsico, Chipotle, Baker Hughes, Sherwin-Williams, Fifth Third, AutoNation, Sonoco Products, Snap-on Mattel, Cypress Semiconductor, Baxter, Taiwan Semiconductor, Rockwell Collins

8:30 a.m.: Jobless claims

10:00 a.m.: Philadelphia Fed survey

Friday

Markets closed for Good Friday

10:00 a.m.: Leading indicators

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