Favorable market conditions also powered stocks higher, fueled by the quarterly expiration of stock options, stock index futures contracts, and stock index options--commonly referred to "triple witching."
With interest-rate concerns fading to the background, at least temporarily, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 66.17 points, or 0.62 percent, to 10,803.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed a whopping 62.92 points, or 2.24 percent, to close at 2,869.64.
The major upward impetus in the software sector was fueled by Adobe Systems after it topped analysts' earnings expectations yesterday. The graphics software maker soared 7.28 percent, or 7.13 points, to hit 105 at the 1 p.m. PT close of the market, not including after-hours trading.
Other software issues swept up with Adobe included Symantec, which climbed 4.03 percent, or 1.38 points, to 35.5, and Intuit, which jumped 3.26 percent, or 3.25 points, to close at 103. Corel soared 6.32 percent, or 0.38 points, to close at 6.31.
Software giant Microsoft was the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq Market, with 39.7 million shares changing hands. The stock climbed 2.59 percent, or 12.44 points, to 96.44.
The Internets were mostly mixed today, but online auctioneer eBay was pounded by news of an alliance between Microsoft, Dell Computer, Excite@Home, and other leading high-tech companies that plan to team to form a combined auction service. eBay tumbled 7.08 percent, or 10.75 points, to 141. The stock was down as much as 13.63 points earlier today.
Lycos, which is also part of the partnership, jumped 3.34 percent, or 1.44 points, to close at 44.44.
Amazon.com dipped 2.2 percent, or 1.44 points, to close at 63.81. And America Online, which recently launched a cobranded auction site with eBay, slipped 1.86 percent, or 1.63 points, to close at 85.94.