HOPE FOR THE BEST: Hope that European officials would find ways to ease the region's debt crisis helped launch a stock market rally. News reports said Germany and European Union officials were considering a plan to lend money from the European bailout fund to help rescue Spain's hobbled banks.
THE DOW: The Dow Jones industrial average surged 286 points Wednesday, its best day this year. The gains turned the Dow positive for 2012.
WORST TO FIRST: Energy and financial companies, whose stocks have been clobbered the most over the past month, had the best gains.