Stocks gained on Wednesday, following a modest Tuesday rally, amid good news on the jobs front.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 65 points after rising Tuesdaydespite significant global headwinds, and mixed economic news.
AT&T , Merck and Exxon Mobil led blue-chips higher, while Home Depot slipped.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also gained. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 18.
All key S&P 500 sectors rose, led by telecom, utilities and financials.
At current levels, the market is on track to post the best quarter since 1998. That's in the face of unrest and uncertainty around the globe, from fighting in Libya, to protests in the Middle East, to the repercussions from the disaster in Japan. One reason for the U.S. market's resilience is investors have few other places to invest, Yu-Dee Chang, chief trader at principal at ACE Investment Strategists told CNBC.com.
"There’s a lot of concerns everywhere, but there is no yield anywhere," Chang said. "So everyone is forced back in the market."
Within the market, Chang likes big, dividend-paying stocks, but he's also making a bet on financials, which have largely slumped since announcing dividend increases and stock buybacks after receiving approvals from the Federal Reserve. Analysts had anticipated the payouts to shareholders, and the stocks sold off on the news.
"We like to buy on dips," Chang said. He likes large-cap financials, and the Financial Select SPRD Fund, which was up more than 1 percent on Wednesday.
He also like gold, and gold-related stocks and exchange-traded funds, as he believes precious metals are benefiting from the current instability in the world. But if stability returns, the economy will revive, and so will inflation, also making gold a smart investment. Gold rose above $1,425 an ounce on Wednesday.
Shares of American Airlines gained more than 3 percent after a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that a firm in Florida plans to buy AMR for $3.25 billion. According to the newspaper, AMR is skeptical of the offer.