STEP AWAY FROM THE EDGE: More signs from Washington that policymakers are moving forward in crucial budget talks helped boost stocks. The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at its highest level in two months.
GREECE UPGRADED: Standard & Poor's lifted its rating on Greece's debt six notches to B-, the highest rating that it has given the indebted nation since June 2011. The ratings agency said the upgrade reflected its view that the other 16 European Union countries using the euro are determined to keep Greece inside the currency union.
BUYBACKS: Insurance company Allstate and drugmaker Eli Lilly both rose after announcing share buybacks.