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Upbeat earnings and a broker's upgrade of General Motors Corp. drove stocks higher Wednesday as the latest round of data assured investors that the economy remains in good shape.


Positive analyst remarks on GM's restructuring brightened Wall Street's mood, as did solid earnings reports from Amazon.com Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. A third day of lower oil prices also eased the market's inflation jitters.


According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 71.24, or 0.63 percent, to 11,354.49. The Dow surged as much as 96 points earlier, but despite the pullback remained at its highest levels since January 2000. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.67, or 0.28 percent, to 1,305.41, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 3.33, or 0.14 percent, to 2,333.63.


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The Cheesecake Factory Inc., which reported earnings on Tuesday, dropped 10 percent to $31.43. Northrop Grumman Corp., which reported earnings Tuesday, fell 4 percent to $100.17. The company was downgraded to "underperform'' from "market perform'' by analyst Patrick J McCarthy at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. IndyMac Bancorp Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, fell 1.8 percent to $46.75. The company was downgraded to "sector perform'' from "outperform'' by analyst James M Ackor at RBC Capital Markets. Wilshire Bancorp Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, was down 3 percent to $18.25. The company was downgraded to "hold'' from "buy'' by analyst Joseph Gladue at Cohen Bros. & Co.

Hi-Shear Technology Corp. jumped 46 percent to $10.41. Optical Communication Products Inc., which was raised to "buy'' from "neutral'' by analyst Michael Coady at B. Riley & Company Inc., rose 4 percent to $3.12. J2 Global Communications Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, added 8 percent to $49.40.

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