U.S. stocks began higher on Wednesday on hopes of progress by European leaders trying to get a handle on regional debt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 21 points to 11,127. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 2 points to 1,175. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 12 points to 2,545. The Nasdaq led the rally yesterday and leads the rally once again this morning thanks to the chips. Micron is up 2% on positive analyst comments. Nvidia is jumping 4% on positive comments from CNBC's Jim Cramer. Intel is higher once again after announcing a deal with Google yesterday. Elsewhere in the tech space Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, and Dell are all higher on upgrades. Dell announced a share buyback yesterday. The financials did open modestly higher. US Bancorp is higher after updating their metrics for the quarter. Ameriprise is higher on an upgrade. Hartford is jumping 4% on an upgrade. Bank of America is modestly higher even though FBR made cautious comments. However, the rally in the financials did not last. In fact, the major averages sold off pretty sharply after the first half an hour. Ralcorp Holdings is down 8% on concerns they will not get bought out by ConAgra. On the flipside, Jakks Pacific is jumping 24% after receiving a private equity offer for a buyout. After the first hour the Dow remained in the red down 60 points, but off the lows of a 100 point decline. The sell off came as a result of Austria implying they may not vote for further bail outs to save the Euro. The Nasdaq is unchanged as many big cap techs try to remain in the green. Through the morning the averages kept battling back led by techs. Philip Morris is jumping 3% after the company raised their dividend by an astounding 20%. Wow. Later in the day, Yum Brands hiked their dividend by 14%. Nice. During the lunch hour the averages moved back into the green. So far this week the averages are acting very resilient. That's a good sign. Through the afternoon the averages kept improving as the European leaders made comments to stay committed to keeping Greece in the EU. In the last hour the averages kept shooting up with the Dow rallying as much as 280 points only to cut the gains in half in the last 30 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up140 points, or 1.3%, at 11,246. The S&P 500 added 15 points, or 1.4%, to 1,188, with all 10 sectors higher. The Nasdaq Composite rose 40 points, or 1.6%, to 2,572.
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