Stocks closed higher for the third day in a row Wednesday after Greece cleared a hurdle toward getting more emergency loans. Financial stocks rose after Bank of America reached a settlement with investors over failed mortgage securities.
Greek lawmakers passed an austerity bill that brought the country closer to getting a financial backstop it needs to avoid defaulting on its debt. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.73 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 12,261.42 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10.74, or 0.8 percent, to 1,307.41. The Nasdaq composite rose 11.18, or 0.4 percent, to 2,740.49.
Financial companies in the S&P 500 rose 2.1 percent after Bank of America Corp. reached an $8.5 billion settlement with investors over claims it sold them bad loans.
Bank stocks also got a lift from news that the Federal Reserve plans to limit the fees banks can charge retailers for swiping debit cards to 21 cents. That's higher than the 12 cents the Fed first proposed.
Relief that Bank of America settled with investors sent the lender's stock up 3 percent. Bank of America is still down 24 percent over the past year, far more than any other major U.S. bank.
Energy stocks rose more than 1 percent after oil prices rose above $95 on a report that U.S. crude supplies fell last week. The drop suggests demand for oil might be rising.
Consolidated trading volume was an average 3.9 billion shares.