Updated from 4:10 p.m. EDT

Investors endured big swings Wednesday, but the major averages closed the volatile session with solid gains, and almost every sector of the market finished in the green.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average , which traded in a range of almost 250 points, ended up 182.06 points, or 2.2%, to 8456.15. The Nasdaq rose 21.35 points, or 1.7%, to 1280.90, and the S&P 500 added 17.20 points, or 2%, at 876.77.

Networking-equipment maker Cisco ( CSCO) was the main corporate story of the session. The company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings after the close Tuesday, citing successful cost-cutting measures, and offered modestly optimistic first-quarter forecasts.

Excluding certain items, the company earned 14 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations by 2 cents. Cisco also announced that Chief Financial Officer Larry Carter will retire in May 2003. Shares of Cisco climbed 8% to $12.99, and the American Stock Exchange Networking Index, under pressure for much of the day, rose 1.2%.

Rival networking outfit Juniper Networks ( JNPR) was down 2.3% to $7.31.

The majority of sectors were stronger, but a late-day push salvaged a number of groups. The oil service sector was the only area of the market showing a loss at 4 p.m. EDT. Advancers beat decliners 2-1 on the New York Stock Exchange , while winners edged out losers on the Nasdaq.

Aside from Cisco, only a handful of sizable companies dot the earnings calendar this week. One of those, consumer products maker Clorox ( CLX), reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that topped analysts' estimates by 2 cents and said it will sign off on its financial statements in accordance with the government's accounting mandate. The stock climbed 5% to $38.40.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, healthcare provider HealthSouth ( HRC) reported a second-quarter profit that met expectations thanks to an enhanced Medicare reimbursement system and stronger revenue from inpatient rehabilitation. Separately, Newmont Mining ( NEM), the world's largest gold producer, reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, as a result of a huge rally in gold prices.

In the drug sector, shares of Gilead Sciences ( GILD) traded up 3% to $31.80 after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel backed its Adefovir drug, a treatment for hepatitis B.

Meanwhile, Tyco International ( TYC) reportedly provided up to $135 million in undisclosed and largely forgiven loans and other benefits to former chief executive Dennis Kozlowski, according to The Wall Street Journal. Tyco slipped 4%, to $12.21.

Insurance broker Aon ( AOC) was getting pummeled, losing more than 30% of its value, after announcing that federal regulators have requested that the firm change the way it accounts for certain items and investments. The company also said that it broke even in its second quarter after a boatload of charges.

AmeriCredit ( ACF) was another big loser, down 25% to $12, despite posting a 35% rise in fourth-quarter profits and beating estimates by a penny.

The economic calendar was light on data Wednesday, but in one report before the opening bell, the Labor Department said import prices rose 0.4% in June, compared with a 0.3% decline in June. Exports rose 0.3% following a flat number the previous month.

U.S. Treasury issues were trading higher around 4 p.m. EDT, with the 10-year note up 6/32 at 104 12/32, yielding 4.306%. The long bond was up 6/32 to 102 9/32 and yielding 5.220%.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 lost 0.9% to 4094, while Germany's Xetra DAX fell 2.9% to 3466. Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 3.5% to 9834, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 2.9% to 9978.