Shares in Kansas City Southern Industries Inc. on Wednesday gained more than 6 percent after an analyst with Credit Suisse said the railroad could see strong growth on rising oil shipments amid the shale oil boom.
The report came amid a broad transportation sector rally on higher confidence the U.S. economy will continue growing, and shipments of goods will accelerate
Kansas City Southern was not the only big regional winner. Shars in Layne Christensen gained 2.2 percent, Waddell & Reed advanced 2.8 percent, Commerce Bancshares was up 1.5 percent, and H&R block gained 1.1 percent.
Great Plains Energy, which is scheduled to report earnings Thursday, closed at $21.69, up 6 cents, or 0.3 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher for a second day as evidence mounts that the housing market is making a comeback.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 175.24 points, or 1.26 percent, to close at 14,075.37, its highest close of the year.
It’s up nearly 300 points over the past two days, putting it within 100 points of its record high reached in October 2007.
Home builder stocks surged as more positive news about housing rolled in. Hovnanian soared 5 percent to $6.06 and Lennar rose 2 percent to $38.94.
A realty group said the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes jumped in January to the highest level in almost three years.
Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was low, 3.4 billion shares.
The BATS 1000 rose 225.37 points, or 1.33 percent, to close at 17,123.91. The Nasdaq rose 32.61 points, or 1.04 percent, to close at 3,162.26. The S&P 500 rose 19.05 points, or 1.27 percent, to close at 1,515.99.
Capitol Federal Financial rose 5 cents, or 0.42%, to close at $11.88.
Cerner Corp. rose 52 cents, or 0.60%, to close at $87.70.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 57 cents, or 1.52%, to close at $38.01.
Compass Minerals rose 79 cents, or 1.07%, to close at $74.35.
DST Systems Inc. rose 51 cents, or 0.75%, to close at $68.16.
Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 38 cents, or 1.89%, to close at $20.44.
Garmin Ltd. rose 37 cents, or 1.08%, to close at $34.68.
Great Plains Energy rose 6 cents, or 0.28%, to close at $21.69.
H&R Block Inc. rose 27 cents, or 1.10%, to close at $24.88.
Inergy L.P. rose 48 cents, or 2.43%, to close at $20.26.
Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 48 cents, or 1.29%, to close at $37.76.
Kansas City Southern rose $6.10, or 6.23%, to close at $103.94.
Layne Christensen Co. rose 48 cents, or 2.22%, to close at $22.08.
O’Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 49 cents, or 0.48%, to close at $102.25.
Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 8 cents, or 1.38%, to close at $5.86.
UMB Financial Corp. rose 13 cents, or 0.29%, to close at $45.71.
Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. rose $1.10, or 2.75%, to close at $41.14.
YRC Worldwide Inc. fell 8 cents, or 1.29%, to close at $6.14.