Stocks opened higher Wednesday as energy stocks bounced back after leading the selloff in the prior session and financials gained after an upgrade on JPMorgan.
Giving the market an extra push was a report that showed pending-home sales hit a six-month high in April.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 100 points, or 1 percent, after sliding 1.1 percent in the previous session. The Nasdaq and S&P 500also advanced.
JPMorgan was the biggest gainer on the Dow after the stock was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" by UBS.
Hewlett-Packard and Alcoa rounded out the Dow's top three.
Apple rose amid buzz about Steve Jobs' appearance at the D8 digital conference.
BP bounced back, as did the other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill, Halliburton and Transocean , after worries about the latest failed attempt to cap the spill and criminal charges over the case rattled the sector — and the entire market — on Tuesday.
BP's latest effort hit a snag today as a saw became stuckin a thick pipe in the well.
JPMorgan kept its "overweight" rating on BP, which it said has become heavily undervalued during the spill crisis.
In a renewed effort to halt the unrelenting oil, BP sent robot submarines wielding powerful cutting tools 5,000 feet down into the ocean.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama vowed an overhaul of laws and regulations needed to prevent a repeat of the April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 people and triggered the spill.
In the day's economic news, pending-home sales jumped 6 percentin April from March to their highest level since October. Economists had expected a gain of just 4.3 percent.
Plus, mortgage applications fell for a fourth straight weekand planned layoffs rose 1.3 percentin May from April but were down 65 percent from a year earlier. The private-sector hiring ADP employment report would normally be out today, two days before the monthly jobs report, but it was delayed by a day because of the Memorial Day holiday.
Forecasts for Friday's May jobs report are particularly optimistic, with economists expecting to see that 425,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls last month and that the unemployment rate dropped to 9.8 percent.
Auto sales will also be released throughout the day, with economists forecasting a drop to 3.9 million in May, down from 4.1 million the month prior.
Of course, the big event Wall Street will be watching today is testimony from billionaire investor Warren Buffettat the FCIC hearing in New York.
Target shares rose following news that the the discount chain will begin selling Amazon's Kindle in all stores starting this weekend.
Collective Brands tumbled after the company reported its first-quarter results.
Google expects to release its Chrome computer operating system in the "late fall", a top executive said on Wednesday, as it aims a competitive strike at rival Microsoft Windows.
Asian stocks declined on Wednesday in a volatile trading session, following losses on Wall Street overnight, as investors remained cautious about the weakness in China’s manufacturing sector, and Japanese financial markets were unsettled by the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his powerful No.2.
Still to Come:
WEDNESDAY: Buffett speaks at FCIC hearing; pending-home sales; May auto sales; earnings from Hovnanian
THURSDAY: May chain-store sales; Blagojevich trial begins; Fed's Lockhart, Hoenig speak; ADP employment report; weekly jobless claims; productivity; factory orders, ISM services index
FRIDAY: May jobs report; Fed's Lockhart speaks; Walmart shareholder meeting; Sprint's first 4G phone goes on sale