S&P Tops 1400 Threshold for First Time Since May

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The broad S&P 500 jumped above the closely-eyed 1400 mark for the first time in more than three months, with energy and materials shares leading the way higher.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51.1 points, or 0.39%, to 13169, the S&P 500 gained 7.1 points, or 0.51%, to 1401 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 26 points, or 0.87%, to 3016.

The markets have now advanced for three days in a row, with the S&P 500 tacking on 2.7% in so many days. The index is now up more than 11% for the year. The best performers could be found in the energy, materials and industrial sector. However, the defensive plays like utilities and consumer staples ended the day in the red.

With the economic calendar light, traders have been paying close attention to the eurozone debt crisis.

European Central Bank Governing Council member Ardo Hansson told the Wall Street Journal that the central bank could make "substantial" purchases of sovereign debt of embattled countries. Hansson told the paper that the buying would be in conjunction with the eurozone's rescue funds, and would hinge on certain conditions that still push countries to reform. Potentially, a large-scale program to purchase government bonds could help keep borrowing costs in check.

The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds, which has been particularly closely watched, remained at 6.78% -- elevated, but below the 7% level that has prompted bailouts in the past. The cost of insuring the country's debt against a default, however, rose slightly on the day, according to financial data firm Markit.

Separately Boston Central Bank President Eric Rosengren told the Journal that the central bank needs to take much more aggressive action to boost the U.S. economy, including purchases of mortgage-backed securities and potentially Treasury securities.

"We need a pro-growth monetary policy," Rosengren, who does not currently command a vote on the Federal Open Market Committee, told the paper.

In corporate news, shares of Standard Chartered plunged more than 20% in London trading after a New York regulator accused the U.K. bank of scheming with Iran on billions of dollars of transactions and threatened to revoke its banking license.

Energy prices rallied after a fire at a Chevron (NYSE:CVX) refinery in California threatened to cut supplies on the West Coast. Indeed, analysts at Deutsche Bank reckon that if the refinery is forced to come offline, it could spark a 20 cent surge in gasoline prices in California.

The benchmark contract traded in New York jumped $1.47, or 1.6%, to $93.67 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline zoomed higher by 2.4% to $2.991 a gallon.

In metals, gold fell $3.40, or 0.21%, to $1,613 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.7% to 2440, the English FTSE 100 jumped 0.56% to 5841 and the German DAX ticked up by 0.71% to 6968.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 jumped 0.88% to 8803 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 0.37% to 20073.

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