Gains for financial companies helped push the stock market toward its biggest gain in almost two weeks on Thursday. Financial stocks were boosted by strong third-quarter earnings reports from Citigroup and regional lender KeyCorp.At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average had climbed 217 points, about 1.3 percent, to 17,141.8. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 29.6 points, about 1.5 percent, to nearly 2,024. The Nasdaq composite rose 87.3 points, about 1.8 percent, to 4,870.1.
CRUDE ENERGY: As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 15 cents, about 0.3 percent, at $46.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
FED FOCUS: The Fed is back in focus as the main driver in financial markets. Though policymakers opted against raising interest rates in September following signs of weakness in China's economy, most traders thought a December increase was likely. After a run of reports that are showing some weakness in the economy, many investors are now thinking the Fed will hold its benchmark lending rate close to zero for the rest of this year.
MAKING MOVES: Investors are focusing on third-quarter earnings. Citigroup climbed $2.25, or 4.4 percent, to close at $52.97 after it reported that its earnings jumped in the third quarter as the bank continued to cut expenses and clean up its books after the financial crisis. KeyCorp rose 60 cents, or 4.7 percent, to close at $13.31 after the lender said that its third quarter earnings rose 18 percent.
Netflix slumped $9.14, about 8.3 percent, to close at $101.09 after it reported late Wednesday that it is hooking fewer U.S. viewers than it hoped.