Intel posted its best gain since January after the world's largest chipmaker said a weakening economy hasn't hurt sales. JPMorgan, the third-biggest U.S. bank, advanced after Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the credit-market crisis is nearing an end. Wells Fargo climbed as the biggest West Coast bank limited losses from slumping California home prices.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 30.28, or 2.3 percent, to 1,364.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 256.8, or 2.1 percent, to 12,619.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 64.07, or 2.8 percent, to 2,350.11. More than eight stocks advanced for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
The S&P 500 posted its first back-to-back gains in more than a week after falling in four of the previous five trading sessions following disappointing results from Alcoa Inc., General Electric Co. and Wachovia Corp. Stocks gained today even after government reports showed housing starts and building permits fell more than forecast last month and the Federal Reserve said economic growth has weakened because of ``anemic'' real estate markets and a slowdown in consumer spending.
The Russell 2000 Index, a benchmark for companies with a median market value 95 percent smaller than the S&P 500's, gained 3.1 percent to 713.39. The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Index, the broadest measure of U.S. shares, rose 2.3 percent to 13,786.84. Based on its advance, the value of stocks increased by $391.7 billion.