The Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) advanced 0.25 percent to finish at 3,085. The Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) climbed 0.36 percent to end the day at 1,042.
In other major markets, oil (NYSEARCA:USO) surged 0.85 percent to close at $37.80.
On London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, September futures for Brent crude oil advanced by 52 cents (0.48 percent) to $108.66/bbl. (NYSEARCA:BNO).
August Gold Futures declined by $16.20 (1.26 percent) to $1,274.20 per ounce (NYSEARCA:GLD).
Transports fired-up their Sabre engines on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Transportation Average (NYSEARCA:IYT) accelerating 0.90 percent.
In Japan, stocks advanced as the yen weakened to 99.51 per dollar during Wednesday’s trading session in Tokyo. A weaker yen causes Japanese exports to be more competitively priced in foreign markets (NYSEARCA:FXY).. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.11 percent to 14,615 (NYSEARCA:EWJ).
In China, bartenders and bankers brought bad news to the stock market as reduced demand for alcoholic beverages and a 3-percent nosedive by China’s largest brokerage, Citic Securities, took their toll on the Shanghai Index. The Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.01 percent to close at 2,044 (NYSEARCA:FXI). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.28 percent to finish the session at 21,371 (NYSEARCA:EWH).
European stocks made solid gains on Wednesday, as mining companies helped the commodities sector lead the advance (NYSEARCA:VGK). Companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata made big gains after Tuesday’s downbeat trading session.
The Euro STOXX 50 Index finished Wednesday’s session with a 0.61 percent advance to 2,681 – struggling back toward its 50-day moving average of 2,701. Its Relative Strength Index is 53.57 (NYSEARCA:FEZ).
Technical indicators reveal that the S&P 500 remained above its 50-day moving average of 1,637 after finishing Wednesday’s session with a 0.28 percent advance to 1,680. At this point, bears are anticipating the formation of a double-top. Its Relative Strength Index rose from 64.23 to 65.43. Both the MACD and the signal line continue to rise above the zero line, suggesting an advance.
The materials sector led the group, with a gain of 0.93 percent.
Consumer Discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY): +0.05%
Technology: (NYSEARCA:XLK): +0.08%
Industrials (NYSEARCA:XLI): +0.29%
Materials: (NYSEARCA:XLB): +0.93%
Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE): +0.44%
Financials: (NYSEARCA:XLF): +0.42%
Utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU): -0.04%
Health Care: (NYSEARCA:XLV): +0.26%
Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP): +0.19%
Bottom line: Despite widespread anxiety concerning what Ben Bernanke would say about the dreaded tapering of quantitative easing during his testimony before Congress on Wednesday, stocks made a modest advance after he reminded us that the taper would be triggered by data rather than a date.