The U.S. economy continued to grow at a "moderate" pace over the last two months, with only one district reporting slower growth, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in its latest reading of economic conditions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 2.37% at 12,414.79, the S&P 500 was 2.3% higher at 1,315.13 and the NASDAQ was up 2.4% at 2,844.72.
Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart, who is a member of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee, said that continuing Operation Twist was now "an option on the table."
The policy, which swaps short-term bonds for ones with a longer duration in order to keep interest rates low, is currently set to expire at the end of June.
The EU unveiled a plan early Wednesday that would call for a Europe-wide banking union, which would deal with future banking crises on the continent, rather than leaving them in the hands of their already struggling national governments.
The proposal may take years to be enacted, so it won't do much to address Europe's current banking crisis.
In corporate news, Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ) Wednesday said it plans to compensate clients affected by the problems with Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) initial public.
The exchange is offering a total of $40 million through a combination of cash and rebates.
News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) Wednesday acquired ESPN’s 50 percent stake in ESPN Star Sports (ESS).
Financial details of the transaction were not revealed.
The deal allows News Corp units to own and operate all of the ESS businesses while providing ESPN more independence and flexibility in future support of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) overall efforts in Asia.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has won a missile defense contract that could be valued at up to $2 billion.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is in advanced talks to sell almost all of its pipeline assets for more than $4 billion to Global Infrastructure Partners, according to press reports citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
The second-largest U.S. natural gas producer is discussing selling all of its interests in Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP as well as other pipeline assets.
Mattress and pillow company Tempur-Pedic International (NYSE:TPX) saw its shares plunge over 40% Wednesday after it said its second quarter sales to date in North America have been lower than expected due to increased competition, revising down its earnings forecast for the year.
Ancestry.com (NASDAQ:ACOM) is considering putting itself up for sale, according to reports, and is already working to find potential buyers.
On the economic front, First-quarter productivity was revised to a 0.9% decline from a previous estimate of a 0.5% decline. Analysts were expecting a drop of 0.8%.
In NYMEX futures trading, crude rose $1.54 to $85.84 a barrel while gold climbed $21.10 to $1,638 an ounce.
European markets finished with strong gains as the ECB kept rates on hold. The FTSE 100 rose 2.2%, the DAX gained 2.2% and the CAC 40 jumped 2.1%.
Proactive Investors is a market leader in the investment news space, providing ASX “Small and Mid-cap” company news, research reports, StockTube videos and One2One Investor Forums.