Financial markets rebounded Wednesday and had their best performance in more than a month, led by gains in health care and consumer staples companies.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 154.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,210.06, its best day since Aug. 18. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.53 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,998.30 and the Nasdaq composite rose 46.53 points, or 1 percent, to 4,555.22.
Once again, investors were willing to step in to buy any noticeable dip in the market, even as more bad news emerged about Europe's economy and worries over violence in Iraq and Syria continued.
The gains came after three days of losses for the S&P 500 and two straight days of triple-digit losses for the Dow Jones industrial average. With the gains Wednesday, the Dow recovered more than half of what it lost Monday and Tuesday.
The biggest gainer in the S&P 500 was Bed Bath & Beyond, which rose $4.64, or 7.4 percent, to $67.33. The home furnishings company reported a quarterly profit of $1.17 a share, two cents above analysts' expectations. The company also raised its full-year forecast.
Wal-Mart rose $1.48, or 2 percent, to $77.08, making it the second-biggest advancer in the Dow. The retail giant took a big step into the financial services sector, announcing a new checking account program for customers in collaboration with Green Dot. The news sent Green Dot shares soaring $4.59, or 24 percent, to $23.41.
Investors also got a positive report on the U.S. economy. Sales of new homes jumped 18 percent in August, reaching an annual rate of 504,000, according to the Commerce Department, far better than the 430,000 rate economists had expected.