Wall Street books impressive gains

US stocks jumped yesterday with the S&amp;P 500 racking up its three best days since March, sparked by results from bellwether <strong>Intel</strong> that lifted hopes for a rebound in technology spending and improved corporate profitability.<br /><br />The broad S&amp;P 500 has gained 6.1 per cent so far this week as companies, including Intel and <strong>Goldman Sachs</strong>, posted much better-than-expected results. It is the biggest three-day gain since the three major US stock indexes began a rebound from 12-year lows in early March.<br /><br />The current earnings season is key as investors look for evidence to support optimism for an economic recovery.<br /><br />In a sign that consumers might be faring better than feared, US credit card companies said defaults and delinquencies were lower in June than expected.<br /><br /><strong>American Express</strong> forecast better business in the second half of the year, pushing its stock up 11.3 per cent to $27.22.<br /><br />Optimism was further reinforced by manufacturing data that suggested the recession is abating, as well as minutes from the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s most recent policy-setting meeting that showed officials judged that the US economy&rsquo;s contraction was slowing.<br /><br />But Intel set the tone with earnings that handily beat forecasts on better-than-expected consumer demand for personal computers. It also gave a strong outlook and shares of the world&rsquo;s largest chip maker shot up 7.3 per cent to $18.05.<br /><br />&ldquo;Intel is the guts of the whole technology industry, so when they&rsquo;re talking about consumers getting more active on the PC front, that augurs well for a lot of different things,&rdquo; said David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average rose 256.72 points, or 3.07 per cent, to 8,616.21. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index gained 26.84 points, or 2.96 per cent, to 932.68, its best gain in nearly two months and putting it solidly back into the black for the year.<br /><br />Along with tech shares, the financial sector led the way higher with the S&amp;P financial index climbing 4.1 per cent. <strong>JP Morgan</strong>, which releases quarterly results today, gained 4.5 per cent to $36.26.