NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks finished higher on Wednesday, with investors snapping up companies across a wide swath of sectors as earnings season begins to ramp up.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
gained 75 points, or 0.7%, to close at 11,096, after rising as high as 11,155 earlier in the session . The
added 8 points, or 0.7%, to 1,178, and the
was ahead by 23 points, or 0.9%, finishing at 2,441.
Stocks across the transportation, materials and capital goods sectors saw a lift amid strength in commodities. Breadth was extremely bullish with three out of every four stocks traded on the NYSE moving higher.
Within the Dow,
were the best performers, while
and Bank of America were the biggest laggards. Twenty-three of the Dow's 30 components rose for the day.
JPMorgan Chase gave investors their first glimpse into how the big money-center banks are holding up, reporting a third-quarter profit of $1.01 a share, exceeding Wall Street's estimates for earnings of 88 cents a share.
The stock, however, slipped 1.4% to $39.84 as attorney generals across 50 states said they would order a probe into the foreclosure procedures of the largest banks, the
reported. Bank of America also shed 1.7% to $13.30.
Intel topped earnings expectations by 2 cents a share and said strong demand was expected to continue in the fourth quarter. Shares were down by 2.7% at $19.24.
Meanwhile, rail company
jumped 4.2% to $59.66 after it said profits grew 43% on the back of a 10% increase in shipments.
The strong results from CSX lifted other railway and transportation stocks.
soared 10.4% to $18.29 and
spiked 5.7% to $27.70.
Global stocks rose on Wednesday after meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy-setting arm indicated that
. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.5%, and Japan's Nikkei inched 0.2% higher. The FTSE in London rose 1.4%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 2.1%.
UBS Economist Maury Harris noted that Federal Open Market Committee members saw marginal chances of deflation and "raised the issue of a higher level of structural unemployment. The latter is important as even a modest shift in the perceived structural unemployment rate can dramatically reduce the overall size of QE2," he said. "However, as speeches by Fed officials have suggested, several members 'consider it appropriate to take
QE action soon."
Pointing to a section in the FOMC minutes that indicated additional easing measures would depend on future information regarding the economic outlook, Harris said, "In short, they were setting a relatively low bar for QE2."
Commodity markets were also strong, with
gold prices rising to another record. The December gold contract settled higher by $23.50 to $1369.5 an ounce. Crude oil for November delivery settled $1.34 to settle at $83.01 a barrel, after the Energy Department boosted its crude-oil forecast for 2011 by $1 to $83 a barrel.
In economic news, import prices fell 0.3% in September after increasing 0.6% in August, while export prices rose 0.6% compared with growth of 0.8% in August. Excluding oil, import prices ticked 0.3% higher after similar growth in the previous month, and September export prices excluding agriculture advanced 0.3% after previous growth of 0.5%.
Meanwhile, China reported that its foreign exchange reserves rose to a record $2.65 trillion, once again triggering concerns that the country was undervaluing its currency and hurting exports of the developed world.
In other news, 16 of the 33 men
trapped for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine have been rescued.
Some of the other stocks in focus on Wednesday include
, which topped $300 for the first time on Wednesday, and finished up 0.5% at $300.14.
snapped up private software firm
. The stock was up 0.4% at $140.37.
Dutch semiconductor equipment maker
, which reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and said sales more than doubled. The stock gained 5.2% to $32.15.
Shares across the oilfield services sector were rising on news that the Obama administration called off the
ban on offshore drilling that it put in place in the wake of the
oil spill. Deepwater drillers
were all up smartly. Schlumberger advanced 3.1% to $64.62, Halliburton rose 2.3% to $35.63 and Baker Hughes gained 1.2% to $45.26.
Sirius XM Radio
added 334,727 net subscribers in the third quarter and expects to end the year with the highest net subscriptions in its history. Its stock shot up 3.7% to $1.40.
were off 0.2% to $53.82 after it said
same store sales will be positive in the fourth quarter at its annual investor conference.
The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.4%, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was last rising by 4/32, weakening the yield to 2.418%.
--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Venkataraman in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.