Stocks finished higher in relatively thin trading Wednesday, led by the energy sector and following a pair of better-than-expected economic reports, but investors remained cautious ahead of the two-day EU summit later this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its gains for a second day, jumping 92.34 points, or 0.74 percent, to finish at 12,627.01, led by JPMorgan and BofA .
The S&P 500 advanced 11.86 points, or 0.90 percent, to end at 1,331.85. The Nasdaq gained 21.26 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 2,875.32.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended below 20.
Most key S&P sectors closed in positive territory, led by energy and financials.
“Europe is a place where there’s still a lot of room for negative developments,” said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I don’t think the market grasps that the Germans are going to let this play out—they’re not going to come in and rescue the euro zone.”
Few experts expect much resolution from the EU's two-day meeting that starts Thursday. Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Arena Pharmaceuticals spiked higher after the
Meanwhile, U.S. drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb said its board authorized the repurchase of $3 billion of the company's common stock in addition to the $3 billion share buyback program it announced in 2010.
Several of Wall Street's largest investment
Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Piper Jaffray and JPMorgan initiated coverage of Facebook with an "overweight" rating. Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the social-networking giant with a "outperform" rating, while BofA/Merrill Lynch set a "neutral" rating on the stock. Shares closed above $33 in the previous session. Barclays, Stifel Nicolaus and Citi placed a "hold" or equivalent rating on the stock.
Also on the tech front, a U.S. judge backed Apple's
Google edged higher after the tech giant unveiled its own version of the tablet, Nexus 7, that will run on its latest version of its Android operating system. The new tablet will ship in mid-July starting at $199.
And Best Buy will be the subject of investor attention after sources said founder Richard Schulze is working with banks including Credit Suisse to explore apotential private buyout deal.
Natural gas futures jumped almost 5 percent, hitting multi-month highs, pushing shares of QEPResources and Cabot Oil higher.
Among earnings, Lennar jumped after the homebuilder posted results that beat Wall Street expectations and handed in a gain in new orders for the fifth-consecutive quarter.
General Mills slipped after the maker of cereals and snacks topped profit estimates, but full-year earnings forecast was lighter-than-expected. Monsanto edged higher after the agricultural biotechnology firm posted higher-than-expected earnings.
On the economic front, durable goods orders
And pending home sales climbed 5.9 percent to 101.1, hitting a two-year high in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Weekly mortgage applications
—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: GDP, jobless claims, 7-yr note auction, farm prices, EU summit, new Verizon mobile data plan, Sara Lee splits into two companies; Earnings from Family Dollar, Research In Motion, Accenture, Nike
FRIDAY: Personal income & outlays, Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment
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