Ahead of Thursday's looming interest rate decision, U.S. stocks rallied for the second straight session. At the closing bell, the broader market averages gained 0.6% to 0.9%. Energy names led the way Wednesday while telecom stocks lagged. Crude oil gained more than 5%, while natural gas fell 2%.
Intra-Cellular Therapies (ITCI) was the big winner of the session, gaining more than 86%. The company announced positive trial results for its schizophrenia drug. Molson Coors (TAP) gained 14%. It is seen as a secondary beneficiary if Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and SABMiller merge.
Looking ahead to Thursday morning, Rite Aid (RAD) headlines a quiet earnings calendar. Darden (DRI), Intuit (INTU) and Nike (NKE) are hosting investor meetings. On the economic front, we'll get a look at housing starts and building permits, in addition to the weekly jobless claims, before the opening bell.
According to the CME Group, the Fed funds futures are pricing in just a 23% chance of an interest rate hike at the 2 p.m. ET announcement on Thursday.