Stocks rise sharply, led by gains in technology
NEW YORK -- Technology stocks roared back Wednesday, driving the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones industrial average to record highs.
The industry has lagged the broader market this year, but surged after network communication company Adtran reported earnings that were double what Wall Street analysts expected. That boosted optimism that businesses will increase spending on technology equipment.
Chipmakers Micron and Intel jumped, as did other network equipment makers like Cisco and JDS Uniphase. Stocks were also up on an optimistic reading of the Federal Reserve Bank's latest minutes.
The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at all-time highs. Technology stocks rose 1.8 percent, the most of the 10 industry groups in the S&P. That's a big change from tech's weak performance this year. The group is up just 4.7 percent, trailing the S&P's gain of 11.3 percent.
The stock market is reversing course from last week, when investors' confidence fell because of an unexpectedly poor report on the U.S. job market and other signs that the economy slowed in March.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 128.78 points, or 0.9 percent, to 14,802.24. It was the third straight gain for the blue-chip index and its biggest one-day rise in a month. The Dow surged in the first three months of the year and is still up 13 percent in 2013.
The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, had the biggest percentage gain of the three main indexes Wednesday, rising 59.39 points, or 1.8 percent, to 3,297.25 The S&P rose 19.12 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,587.73.
Investors are seeing positive news in the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting, which were released Wednesday. The minutes revealed that policy makers are becoming more confident that the U.S. economy can grow without the help of the bank's stimulus program, said Brian Gendreau, a market strategist at Cetera Financial Group.