Stocks have seen their best single trading day this month.
The gain for the Dow was 338 points, or 2.9 percent. The S&P 500 was up 36 points, while the Nasdaq added 81 points.
- The House has rejected legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months. That drew a rebuke from President Barack Obama who said Republicans were threatening higher taxes on 160 million workers beginning Jan. 1.
- Oracle's quarterly earnings fell short of analyst estimates. The business software maker has struggled to close deals, signaling possible trouble ahead for the technology sector. Investors punished the stock for the miss, sending the shares down nearly 8 percent in extended trading.
- Nike's second-quarter profit was up 3 percent, reflecting strong demand and higher prices for its shoes, clothes and gear. That helped offset increased costs. The results, coming in at $1 per share, topped analyst expectations.
- Commodity prices rose across the board on hopeful economic news in Europe and an increase in new U.S. home construction. Oil prices rose 3.4 percent, gold was up 1.3 percent, copper added nearly 2 percent, and wheat increased 1.3 percent.