Stocks advanced Thursday after another strong batch of earnings reports revived optimism about the economic recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 200 points, led by Boeing , UnitedTechnologies and American Express , reclaiming the more than 100 points it lost in the prior session— and then some.
Yesterday's decline was largely attribute to comments by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that the economic outlook is "unusually uncertain."
Fed Chairman Bernanke was back on Capitol Hill, repeating Wednesday's Senate testimony for House members. Bernanke reassured lawmakers that the Fed is prepared to take further stepsif the economic situation in the labor market worsens.
- Watch Live: Bernanke Testifies on Monetary Policy
In the meantime, earnings were all the rage today:
Economic bellwether UPS beat earnings expectations and raised its forecast.
And heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar delivered an equally upbeat report, topping expectations for both its earnings and forecast, citing continued strong salesin emerging markets. The company said its increase in sales from the first quarter to the second was the "most significant" in company history, adding that orders have now outpaced shipments.
AT&T also exceeded Wall Street's expectations, helped by strong iPhone sales, and said it sees strong 2010 earnings. 3M also powered higher with across-the-board sales gains.
Financial stocks got a boost after a slew of regional banks delivered solid results, including Fifth Third , KeyCorp , PNC Financial and SunTrust .