Stocks rallied Wednesday but the gains are unconvincing to some who say the consumer is too weak to fuel a strong recovery. The Fed's Beige Book reports that retail conditions are "flat" as are wages. All eyes are now on President Obama and his healthcare address to a joint session of Congress.
The S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent to 1,033. Gold backed off $1,000, ending at $990. Oil ended at $71.50. Commodities didn't get a lift from continued weakness in the dollar with the dollar index at a new 2009 low, down 0.3 percent at 77.07.