NEW YORK – Blue-chip stocks surged Wednesday and Wall Street managed to snap a three-session losing streak that had pulled the Dow Jones industrials down more than 330 points over the last two days.
The Dow jumped 164.55 points, or 1.61 percent, to close the day at 10,405.67, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 25.08 points, or 1.28 percent, to 1,984.32 in choppy trading.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 18.84 points, or 1.61 percent, to 1,190.49.
Wednesday's jump by blue-chip shares just about made up heavy losses in the previous trading session, providing more evidence the market is trading largely on day-to-day news, with no clear broader themes emerging.
The market's rebound Wednesday was to be expected after the sharp decline of the past few sessions, as lower prices made some stocks look more attractive. But no one was expecting the gains to last.
"Uncertainty is the overwhelming feeling here," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "While we have that backdrop of uncertainty here, I don't think we're going to have any major moves to the upside."
Wall Street reacted positively to the latest earnings — an about-face from earlier in the week — and a Lehman Brothers' upgrade of Lucent Technologies Inc. to "strong buy" from "neutral" gave the bulls some motivation.
Lucent, the New York Stock Exchange's most heavily traded issue, rose 25 cents to $6.67, after Lehman raised its rating on the struggling telecommunications-gear maker.
SBC Communications Inc. . the No. 2 U.S. local-telephone company, said its profits, excluding one-time items, rose as growth in wireless and data services offset economic weakness, beating expectations. Its shares rose $2.58 to $43.38.
Lingering nervousness was evident in the high-tech sector, however, where data storage makers were hit after Salomon Smith Barney cut its rating on several companies in the sector. Among them was QLogic Corp., which slumped $6.17 to $34.57.
Earnings held the spotlight, as results flooded in from corporate giants such as Schlumberger Ltd. The shares of Schlumberger, the world's No. 2 oilfield services company, gained $2.78 to $56.48 after saying earnings rose 20 percent as strong oil and natural gas prices during the quarter drove a recovery in energy companies' spending on exploration and production.
Investors bid Texaco higher, up $2.33 at $66.75 after the company beat earnings expectations and said its merger with Chevron should be completed this fall.
Oil stocks were also helped by an OPEC decision to cut crude oil output by at least 1 million barrels a day.
Investors also took shares of DuPont higher, even after the No. 1 U.S. chemical company posted a loss, announced more job cuts and warned business would not improve in the third quarter as the economic downturn continued to hurt demand for chemicals and plastics. It rose 29 cents to $43.21.
Drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp. had flat earnings, following quality control problems at its plants that have disrupted production and sparked the ire of U.S. regulators. It erased an early gain and fell 75 cents to $37.20.
AT&T Corp. rose 71 cents to $20.15 after it became clear Ma Bell has held preliminary talks with several suitors, including Walt Disney Co., Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and AOL Time Warner for a potential sale of its cable assets. AT&T is hoping to get more for its cable business than the $37.5 billion offered by Comcast Corp.
The latest economic data was upbeat. The government reported U.S. existing home sales totaled an annualized 5.33 million units in June, surpassing expectations, following May's 5.36 million units.
The week's main economic report, however, is not due until Friday, when the government issues advance second-quarter gross domestic product data.
Advancing issues led decliners 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to 1.25 billion shares, compared with nearly 1.20 billion shares Tuesday.
The Russell 2000 index gained 2.72 to 476.98.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose nearly 0.1 percent. European markets were weak. Germany's DAX index slipped 1.4 percent, Britain's FT-SE 100 lost 0.8 percent, and France's CAC-40 dropped 1.7 percent.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.