NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks managed to extend their gains into a second session Wednesday as a bright outlook from Oracle and better-than-expected results from chipmaker Texas Instruments lifted the technology sector.
Despite the day's strong trading, some analysts were skeptical about whether the gains would hold, particularly after three weeks of persistent declines. Stocks have not enjoyed three straight days of gains since the year began; they've also tended to lose momentum after robust starts, even in the face of good earnings and positive economic data -- a pattern that has made investors extremely cautious.
"The fact that the market came down so hard during the first three weeks of the year has got people saying 'Gee, the market is smarter than me, what is it trying to tell us?'" said Todd Clark, head of listed equity trading at Wells Fargo Securities. "Everyone is looking deeply into earnings reports and guidance to see if there is something that justifies the declines that we've had."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 37.03, or 0.35 percent, to 10,498.59.
The broader gauges also closed higher. The Standard & amp; Poor's 500 index was up 5.66, or 0.48 percent, at 1,174.07. The Nasdaq composite index rose 26.14, or 1.29 percent, to 2,046.09, its best one-day point gain since Dec. 7. The tech-focused index had dropped nearly 6 percent over the last three weeks.
Oil prices were volatile after the U.S. government and an industry group issued mixed reports on fuel inventories. The government's weekly report, which is most closely watched, showed a jump in crude stores, a sharp drop in gasoline supplies and an expected draw in distillates, which include heating oil.