U.S. stocks opened moderately higher Wednesday, poised for their first rise in four days and extending gains booked in parts of Europe and Asia. Investors are temporarily shrugging off concerns about a European debt default and instead looking towards Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's upcoming testimony. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points to 12,516, lead by Caterpillar, and Alcoa. The S&P 500 added 7 points to 1,321 with energy and consumer discretionary stocks leading gains in all sectors. The Nasdaq Composite rose 22 points, or 0.8%, to 2,804.05. After the first half an hour the averages jumped on encouraging comments from Fed Chairman indicating he is ready to assist the market with hints to a QE3 if the economy and employment continue to languish. The energy sector led the charge. Canadian Natural Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources are jumping 3% on upgrades. AK Steel is up 4% on an upgrade. The fertilizers also look good. Actually everything looks good. In the tech space Google and Apple are higher on upgrades. IBM is up ahead of earnings next Monday. The chips are lacking the other techs. Broadcom is up a percent even though it was downgraded. The industrials look good. Caterpillar is up 3%. Cummins is up 4% on news of a CEO succession plan. The one sector that can't get going is the financials. Bank of America is the only Dow component trading lower. Allstate is modestly higher after disclosing their catastrophic losses for the quarter. Capital One is lower after easily beating earnings estimates. JP Morgan is higher ahead of earnings tomorrow. After the first hour the Dow rose 150 points while the Nasdaq jumped 40 points. Through the morning the averages remained strong near the highs of the day. In the afternoon the rally started to fizzled. By the last hour the rally was rapidly depleting. Not a good sign. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 44 points, at 12,491. The S&P 500 gained 4 points to 1,317. The Nasdaq Composite added 15 points to 2,796.
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