Stocks ended the day Wednesday with gains as investors scrutinized corporate news and evaluated data that could lead Federal Reserve policymakers to rule on a change in a key interest rate.
At the close on Wall Street, The Dow Jones industrial average had risen 140.1 points, about 0.8 percent, to nearly 16,740. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 17.2 points, nearly 1 percent, to nearly 1,995.3. The Nasdaq composite, after a morning dip, rose 28.7 points, about 0.6 percent, to 4,889.2.
As markets closed, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $2.61 to $47.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
FED FOCUS: Investors are closely watching the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee and the start of its two-day policy meeting Wednesday, which could end with the central bank raising its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Investors remain mixed on the chance of an increase.
Some economists say it's time to start gradually raising interest rates given that the U.S. job market has recovered significantly. Others argue rates should remain low because wages have not recovered and there is a threat of global turmoil in financial markets triggered by concerns over China.
MERGER BREWING? SABMiller, a major beer maker whose brands include Miller and Foster's, jumped 20 percent in London after the company said it received a takeover offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev. A combination of the two would create a massive conglomerate worth roughly $275 billion. Any potential deal would be sure to receive heavy scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and overseas.
JOB CUTS: Hewlett-Packard closed up $1.36, about 5 percent, at $28.47 after the company announced it would cut 30,000 jobs, about 10 percent of its workforce, and would split into two separate companies.
MISSED DELIVERY: FedEx sank $4.37, about 2.8 percent, to $149.63 after the company's quarterly results missed analysts' expectations and issued a warning to its full-year results late Tuesday.