U.S. stocks rose after crude oil prices extended their decline to a fourth day, easing concern that higher energy prices will hinder economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed to a six-week high.
The drop in crude "is very encouraging to the stock market," said William Ferer, who helps manage $1.5 billion at W.H. Reaves & Co. in Jersey City, N.J. "It has been a huge concern, right up there with the presidential election and terrorism."
Boeing led the Dow average higher after Singapore Airlines agreed to buy as many as 31 of the company's planes. Retailers including Tiffany and Bed Bath & Beyond helped boost the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.
The Dow average gained 83.11, or 0.8 percent, to 10,181.74, a level not seen since July 14. The S&P 500 added 8.77, or 0.8 percent, to 1104.96, while the Nasdaq composite index jumped 23.83, or 1.3 percent, to 1860.72.
Boeing climbed $1.59, or 3.1 percent, to $52.50.
An index of 30 retailers in the S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent, reflecting the drop in oil prices. Tiffany, the No. 1 U.S. luxury jewelry merchant, gained $1.35, to $30.55, for the biggest advance among the retailers. Bed Bath & Beyond, the largest U.S. housewares retailer, rallied $1.41, to $37.00.
The Commerce Department reported that purchases of new homes fell more than forecast in July to a 1.134 million annual rate. The report sent home builders lower. Centex declined 19 cents, to $46.31, and KB Home fell 56 cents, to $68.24.
H&R Block, the biggest U.S. tax preparation company, fell $2.78, or 5.4 percent, to $48.45, for the second-steepest drop in the S&P 500. The company said it had a net loss of 26 cents a share for the first quarter ended July 31.
Shares of Ditech Communications, a designer of fiber-optic network equipment, climbed $2.68, to $20.93.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 49.28, to 6431.79; the American Stock Exchange index rose 3.59, to 1217.32; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 5.13, to 550.14.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 7 to 3 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.19 billion shares, from 1.09 billion on Tuesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers outnumbered decliners by 23 to 1 and volume rose slightly, to 1.29 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose 63 cents per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.27 percent, from 4.28 percent on Tuesday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and fell against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 110.20 yen, up from 109.52 late Tuesday, and a euro bought $1.2093, up from $1.2074.
* Light, sweet crude oil for October delivery settled at $43.47, down $1.74, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $407.90 a troy ounce, from $403.00 on Tuesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.