Tech Propels Stocks Higher as Syria Headwinds Recede

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks jumped Wednesday lifted by speculation about a new iPhone from Apple and cloud technologies from Intel as investors awaited indications about a U.S. military strike against Syria.

The S&P 500 posted its biggest advance in two weeks, gaining 0.8% to 1,653.80, bolstered by the Federal Reserve which said summer spending on homes and automobiles helped provide "modest to moderate" growth, a trend that has also helped sustain this year's rally in equities.

"Investors are looking ahead of that -- looking through it, looking past it -- and saying, 'If there's action in Syria, historically the market sells off but then it rebounds pretty soon thereafter,'" said Troy Logan, managing director at Warren Financial Service. "I'm not saying there won't be a little bit of a pullback or selloff the moment we have action, but I think the market is somewhat pricing that in and looking past that."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6% to 14,929.62 while the Nasdaq jumped 1% to 3,649.04.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a proposal to implement a deadline of 60 days for U.S. military strikes against Syria. It also includes the possibility of one extension of 30 days. The resolution will go before the full Senate while the House is working on a separate proposal.

President Obama, in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, said both the U.S. and international community's credibility is at stake in responding to events in Syria. He emphasized the need to take action to admonish chemicals weapons usage as part of a broad global effort to keep the world safe and secure.

"I would not have taken this before Congress just a symbolic gesture," Obama said. "I think it's very important that Congress say that we mean what we say. I think we will be stronger as a country in our response if the President and Congress does it together."

Apple gained 2.1% to $498.76 as Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage with a buy recommendation and 12-month price target of $777, citing the potential for growth as a result of its new product cycle.

E*Trade Financial Corp was the top gainer in the S&P 500 after the company said its subsidiary E*Trade Bank has received regulatory approval to distribute dividend capital to its parent company. Shares surged 8.1% to $15.71.

Intel , the world's biggest semiconductor maker, increased 2.6% to $22.64 a share as the company announced new cloud computing products it says will be more efficient.

GM popped 5% to $35.85 and Ford advanced 3.5% to $16.91 as auto sales continued to gain ground last month. GM said Wednesday that sales in August rose 15% while Ford and Chrysler both reported 12% gains.

In economic news, anecdotal reports from the twelve Federal Reserve districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the period of early July through late August, according to the central bank's Beige Book report Wednesday. Evidence suggested that the expansion was driven by consumer spending in most districts, reflecting, in part, the strong demand for automobiles and housing-related goods.