U.S. stocks rose for the first day in three after the chief executive of IBM said the global economy may have bottomed out.
The world's largest computer maker boosted the Dow Jones industrial average, which is headed toward its biggest monthly gain since January 1987. Some investors said stocks were lifted by speculation that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates next week after a survey released Tuesday showed a plunge in consumer confidence.
The Dow rose 58.47, or 0.7 percent, to 8427.41, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 26.19, or 2 percent, to 1326.73. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 8.56, or 1 percent, to 890.71.
For the month, the Dow has climbed 11 percent. Higher earnings at companies including Microsoft and Citigroup have helped the Dow and S&P 500 rebound from five-year lows reached Oct. 9.
Economists predict two reports due on Friday will show that unemployment rose and manufacturing contracted in October. Concern that growth is slowing and may curb corporate profits has fueled expectations that the central bank will lower borrowing costs. Benchmark lending rates are already at the lowest level in four decades.
Computer-related shares got a lift today after Samuel J. Palmisano, chief executive at IBM, said the global economy may have hit bottom and the company is spending $10 billion to increase sales of on-demand computer services. IBM rose $1.93, to $78.67.
Maxim rose $3.29, to $32.72. The maker of semiconductors used in cars and MP3 music players said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 19 percent.
Applied Materials, the biggest maker of chip equipment, advanced 97 cents, to $15.32, and Intel, the biggest chipmaker, gained 59 cents, to $16.99.
Alcatel's forecast that it will return to profit next year lifted telecommunications stocks. The company, which has had six straight quarterly losses after costs, said sales will climb more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months. U.S.-traded shares of the Paris-based company jumped $1.26, to $5.11.
Among other telecommunications-equipment makers, Cisco Systems climbed 31 cents, to $10.91; Lucent Technologies surged 19 cents, to $1.20; Nortel Networks rose 13 cents, to $1.22; and Verizon Communications gained $1.64, to $38.24.
Clorox rose $1.28, to $41.46. The largest U.S. maker of household bleach reported first-quarter profit that climbed 84 percent, topping forecasts, on lower expenses and higher sales of new products.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 3.96, to 475.45; the American Stock Exchange index rose 6.26, to 811.91; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 5.54, to 374.17.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 9 to 5 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.44 billion shares, from 1.55 billion on Tuesday. On the Nasdaq, advancers outnumbered decliners by 5 to 3 and volume totaled 1.63 billion, up from 1.54 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $1.56 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 3.96 percent, from 3.94 percent on Tuesday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 122.81 yen, up from 122.68 late Tuesday, and a euro bought 98.48 cents, down from 98.52.
* Light, sweet crude oil for December delivery settled at $26.81 a barrel, down 5 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $316.50 a troy ounce, from $317.70 on Tuesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.