Stocks moved higher today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average getting a lift from strong blue chip earnings, while the Nasdaq Composite Index got a boost from gains by technology bellwether stocks.
Some analysts suggested that last week's interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, the second quarter-percent cut in less than a month, has given investors a feeling of confidence about putting money back into the stock market.
And there is continuing speculation that the Fed may cut rates further still.
"[Fed chairman Alan] Greenspan doesn't do anything in isolation," said Brean Murray senior equity trader Peter Coolidge, adding his opinion that there may be another cut, perhaps in mid-November. "But even if we don't see one, a trend has been established in that Greenspan wants to help jump-start the economy, which might take several more rate cuts.
"But those [anticipated] cuts have already been factored into the market and the pricing models for future valuations," he concluded.
The Dow managed to post gains for a seventh consecutive day, despite spiraling down as much 97 points earlier in the day on profit-taking. The blue chip index closed up 13.91 points at 8,533.14. Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble and aircraft maker Boeing reported earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations, giving the Dow a boost and bringing it back into the black after it spent of most the day in decline.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq index closed up 27.87 points or 1.66 percent, at 1,702.62, helped higher by surging bellwethers.
Internet stocks also saw mostly strong gains today, with America Online posting a 6.19 percent jump to 113.63. Shares in the online giant were the sixth most actively traded on the New York Stock Exchange today.
In after hours trading, Adaptec traded at 14.25, up from 14 at today's close, on news that it reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 22 cents per share, after charges. Net income was break-even excluding the charge.
Reuters contributed to this report.