Stocks advanced Wednesday as financials got a boost from State Street's outlook and investors scooped up some beaten-down tech and industrial shares.
The Dow jumped over 100 points, led by GE , Hewlett-Packard and Cisco , after posting a modest gain on Tuesday.
State Street shares jumped more than 5 percent after the bank said it expects second-quarter earnings will top analysts' expectations.
Also giving the sector a boost was news that bank-card delinquencies fell to their lowest level in eight years.
Wall Street also was waiting for details on the methodology of the European Union bank stress tests.
Energy stocks got a boost as oil topped $73 a barrel.
BPCEO Tony Hayward is visiting Abu Dhabi and has reportedly met with representatives of one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. Neither the company nor wealth fund representatives have issued any official comment. BP has been exploring various options to raise cash as it continues to combat the Gulf oil spill.
Retailers remained mixedahead of June chain-store sales reports, due out on Thursday. Analysts expect to see a rise of 3.2 percent, according to the latest Thomson Reuters survey, but suggest it may only be a temporary reprieve due to the warm weather and Memorial Day holiday.
Family Dollar retreated after the dollar store reported its profit rose in the latest quarter as cheap stuff remained in demand but its forecast fell short of expectations.
Retailers were among the biggest drags in Tuesday's session after Citigroup slashed its forecast and price targets on a slew of retailers, including Home Depot ,, Macy's and Walmart but raised its rating Family Dollar.
A parade of Fed speakers today, including Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota in Montreal at 3:30 pm ET and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker at 7:15 pm.
WEDNESDAY: Fed's Fisher, Kocherlakota & Lacker speak
THURSDAY: June chain-store sales; weekly jobless claims; consumer credit
FRIDAY: Wholesale trade