US stocks rose on Wednesday amid several signs the recession could be abating and data from American Express signalled the ability of some consumers to pay their bills is stabilising.
A report said manufacturing activity in New York State contracted less severely in April, while the Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicated the economy continued to weaken, but the contraction's speed was fading.
Financial stocks provided a major lift late in the session as American Express climbed almost 12% after defaults rose only slightly after months of deterioration.
Along with American Express, JPMorgan Chase & Co ranked among the Dow's biggest advancers as investors bet the bank will post robust quarterly results on Thursday.
Intel Corp limited the Nasdaq's gains, however, saying economic uncertainty ruled out a clear revenue forecast. Its stock fell 2.4%.
After a choppy session, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 109.44 points, or 1.38%, to 8,029.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 10.56 points, or 1.25%, to 852.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.08%, or 0.07 percent, to 1,626.80.