Dow Gains Ground in Broad Sector Rally

Stocks saw wide buying interest Wednesday, with advancers outnumbering decliners 3 to 1 on the NYSE. Gregg Greenberg has The Real Story.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Stocks finished higher on Wednesday, with investors snapping up companies across a wide swath of sectors as earnings season begins to ramp up.

The

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

S&P 500

added 8 points, or 0.7%, to 1,178, and the

Nasdaq

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,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

were the best performers, while

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

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

Associated Press

reported. Bank of America also shed 1.7% to $13.30.

Late Tuesday,

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

CSX

(CSX) - Get Report

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.

Greenbrier

(GBX) - Get Report

soared 10.4% to $18.29 and

FreightCar America

(RAIL) - Get Report

spiked 5.7% to $27.70.

Global stocks rose on Wednesday after meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy-setting arm indicated that

the Fed is ready to enact additional easing measures

. 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

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

, which topped $300 for the first time on Wednesday, and finished up 0.5% at $300.14.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

snapped up private software firm

PSS Systems

. The stock was up 0.4% at $140.37.

Dutch semiconductor equipment maker

ASML

(ASML) - Get Report

, 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

BP

(BP) - Get Report

oil spill. Deepwater drillers

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

,

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

and

Baker Hughes

(BHI)

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

(SIRI) - Get Report

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.

Shares of

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

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.