Regional stocks bounced back to life Wednesday, with winners early across the board.
Among the top percentage performers were Cerner, up 2.3 percent, Compass Minerals, up 2.7 percent, Waddell & Reed, up 3.3 percent, H&R Block, up 2.3 percent, and Garmin, up 2.2 percent.
Commerce Bancshares, which reports earnings on Thursday, finished about 2 percent higher. UMB Financial also gained about 2 percent.
One of the few losers was Sprint, which dropped only 3 cents or .5 percent.
On Wall Street, technology stocks roared back Wednesday, driving the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones industrial average to record highs.
The industry has lagged the broader market this year, but surged after network communication company Adtran reported earnings that were double what Wall Street analysts expected. That boosted optimism that businesses will increase spending on technology equipment.
Chipmakers Micron and Intel jumped, as did other network equipment makers like Cisco and JDS Uniphase. Stocks were also up on an optimistic reading of the Federal Reserve Bank's latest minutes.
The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at all-time highs. Technology stocks rose 1.8 percent, the most of the 10 industry groups in the S&P. That's a big change from tech's weak performance this year. The group is up just 4.7 percent, trailing the S&P's gain of 11.3 percent.
The stock market is reversing course from last week, when investors' confidence fell because of an unexpectedly poor report on the U.S. job market and other signs that the economy slowed in March.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 128.78 points, or 0.9 percent, to 14,802.24. It was the third straight gain for the blue-chip index and its biggest one-day rise in a month. The Dow surged in the first three months of the year and is still up 13 percent in 2013.
The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, had the biggest percentage gain of the three main indexes Wednesday, rising 59.39 points, or 1.8 percent, to 3,297.25 The S&P rose 19.12 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,587.73.
Investors are seeing positive news in the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting, which were released Wednesday. The minutes revealed that policy makers are becoming more confident that the U.S. economy can grow without the help of the bank's stimulus program, said Brian Gendreau, a market strategist at Cetera Financial Group.
Many Fed members indicated they want to slow and eventually end the central bank's bond-buying program before the end of the year, as long as the job market and economy show sustained improvement. The $85 billion in monthly bond purchases has kept interest rates extremely low, with the goal of encouraging borrowing and spending.
“The idea that the Fed thinks that we are closer to the restoration of normality might be positive for the market,” said Gendreau.
The BATS 1000 rose 198.47 points, or 1.12 percent, to close at 17,909.09.
Capitol Federal Financial rose 4 cents, or 0.34%, to close at $11.93.
Cerner Corp. rose $2.14, or 2.30%, to close at $95.27.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 76 cents, or 1.91%, to close at $40.52.
Compass Minerals rose $2.12, or 2.71%, to close at $80.30.
DST Systems Inc. rose $1.30, or 1.88%, to close at $70.61.
Ferrellgas Partners L.P. fell 14 cents, or 0.72%, to close at $19.29.
Garmin Ltd. rose 75 cents, or 2.23%, to close at $34.40.
Great Plains Energy rose 24 cents, or 1.03%, to close at $23.50.
H&R Block Inc. rose 65 cents, or 2.30%, to close at $28.95.
Inergy L.P. rose 53 cents, or 2.49%, to close at $21.80.
Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 45 cents, or 1.24%, to close at $36.85.
Kansas City Southern rose $1.73, or 1.64%, to close at $107.51.
Layne Christensen Co. rose 24 cents, or 1.18%, to close at $20.54.
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose $1.44, or 1.41%, to close at $103.50.
Sprint Nextel Corp. fell 3 cents, or 0.48%, to close at $6.25.
UMB Financial Corp. rose 93 cents, or 1.97%, to close at $48.14.
Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. rose $1.40, or 3.30%, to close at $43.85.
YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 10 cents, or 1.35%, to close at $7.50.