U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 rebounding from a five-session dive, as U.S. crude stopped a four-day skid, concerns eased about a Greek exit from the European Union and investors offered a favorable reaction to minutes from the Federal Reserve.
The key drivers to equity gains appear to be "a stabilization of energy, easing concern about a Greek exit and a positive tone to the Fed minutes," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
Benchmark indexes retained gains of roughly 1 percent after the Fed release, with the December gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee indicating inflation would not have to climb from current levels for the central bank to begin raising interest rates.
The Fed is willing to liftoff before we get to 2 percent inflation, and we may not get to 2 percent inflation with $50 oil," said Hogan.
Also helping bolster market sentiments, Germany left open the door to discussing options with Greece's next government on its debt, easing worries about a Greek departure from the euro zone.
Private employers added 241,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, surpassing projections of a 226,000 gain, according to the ADP National Employment report.
The figures come two days before the U.S. Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report, with economists surveyed by Reuters looking for employment growth of 240,000 last month and a jobless rate of 5.7 percent.
"We had a solid jobs number from ADP, and Monsanto is officially company number 18 on the fourth-quarter earnings clock. Of those 18, only one -- FedEx -- has missed. It's the best start to any earnings season in over three years," said Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout.
"Here's the kicker to that, no energy company has reported yet. The drop in energy-sector earnings estimates over the last 1-2 months is the worst deterioration we have measured in any sector since the financial sector earnings fell of a cliff in 2008," he added.
Monsanto rose after the seed producer reported a lower-than-expected drop in quarterly profit; J.C. Penney rallied after the retailer reported a 3.7 percent gain in same-store sales for the holiday season; American Express also gained after Goldman Sachs upgraded its shares to buy from neutral.