An afternoon surge Wednesday gave the stock market its best day in close to four years, as stocks rebounded from a six-day slump.
The three major U.S. indexes dropped six days in a row heading into Wednesday on concern that China's economy is weaker than investors had previously thought. That was the longest market slide in more than three years.
The Dow fell about 1,900 points over that period, while the slump wiped more than $2 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 619.07 points, or 4 percent, to 16,285. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 72.9 points, or 3.9 percent, to 1,940, giving the index its best day since November 2011. The Nasdaq composite gained 191 points, or 4.2 percent, to 4,697.
Markets have been volatile since China decided to weaken its currency earlier this month. Investors interpreted the move as an attempt to bolster a sagging economy.
Traders are also jittery about the outlook for interest rates. The Federal Reserve has signaled it could raise its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade later this year.
New York Fed President Bill Dudley said Wednesday that the case for a rate increase next month had become "less compelling" in recent weeks, which may have added fuel to the market gains. However, he also stated that the situation could still change before the Fed's next policy meeting scheduled for mid September.
Investors were also following the latest corporate deal and earnings news. Technology stocks were among the biggest gainers.
THE QUOTE: "There's a lot of cash on the sidelines waiting to get in, so to the extent that there's any sort of bottom seen, that will increase people's confidence and boldness," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
ECONOMIC BELLWETHER: The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods, or items expected to last at least three years, rose 2 percent last month after a 4.1 percent gain in June.
Despite the increase, U.S. manufacturers still face a host of problems from a stronger dollar to falling oil prices and turbulence in China, the world's second-biggest economy.
OIL DEAL: Cameron International, a maker of equipment for the oil industry, jumped 41 percent after Schlumberger said it was buying the company in a cash-and-stock deal. Cameron rose $17.46 to $59.93.
NEVER MIND: Monsanto shares climbed 8.6 percent on news that the agricultural products maker has decided to abandon its takeover bid for rival Syngenta. The stock gained $7.66 to $97.08.
EUROPEAN ACTION: Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.4 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.7 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: Markets in Asia were mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 3.2 percent. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent to 21,305.17, and mainland China's smaller Shenzhen Composite lost 3.1 percent.
ENERGY: The price of oil fell back below $39 a barrel after a U.S. government report showed an unexpected decline in demand for gasoline last week. U.S. oil fell 71 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $38.60.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.17 percent from 2.07 percent late Tuesday. The dollar rose 0.6 percent against the yen to 119.37. The euro dropped 1.3 percent to $1.1380.
METALS: Gold fell $13.70 to $1,124.60 an ounce. Silver dropped 56.9 cents to $14.04 an ounce. Copper fell 6.6 cents to $2.25 a pound.