Stocks closed with modest gains, helped by a rally among bank stocks as well as higher oil prices.
Boeing was the main driver behind the rise in the Dow Industrials. The company said its 787 Dreamliner would make its first flight by the end of this year, with the first delivery expected in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Dell reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue moments before the final bell. The stock immediately jumped and closed sharply higher. Click here for an after-hours quote.
A decision by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to widen the pool of buyers for troubled banks helped set the stage for the mid-afternoon bounce.
American International Group shares exploded after the company's new chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday that he did not support a fire sale of the troubled insurer's assets. AIG's stock has more than tripled in price since the beginning of August when it named Robert Benmosche as its new CEO. (Click here to read more about AIG's runnup.)