before pulling back slightly. The stock, a Dow component, ended at $10.46, up 5.7 percent for the day.
Cyclical sectors, which are tied to the pace of economic growth, rallied on optimism about progress on a solution to avoid the fiscal cliff. An S&P index of industrial stocks rose 1.1 percent, buoyed by Caterpillar Inc, up 2.2 percent at $86.05, while an S&P index of energy shares climbed 0.7 percent. The Dow Jones Transportation Average gained 0.9 percent, with CSX Corp jumping 2.7 percent to $20.16.
Still, Apple struggled throughout the session. Market participants cited a host of reasons for the drop in the iPad maker's stock, including a consultant's report about the company losing share in the tablet market and reports that margin requirements had been raised by at least one clearing firm, as well as year-end tax selling ahead of a possible rise in capital-gains tax rates next year.
On the Washington front, Obama told the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives, on Wednesday that a fiscal cliff deal was possible "in about a week" if Republicans acknowledged the need to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Equities have struggled to gain ground recently because of concerns over the fiscal cliff - a series of mandatory spending cuts and tax increases effective in early January that could push the U.S. economy into recession next year. Recently equities have moved on any whiffs of sentiment from Washington in headlines about negotiations.
"Obama's comments generated a lot of optimism, but to the extent the market believes them, that's how much we're setting ourselves up for a decline if that deadline passes with no progress," said Macey, who helps oversee about $20 billion in assets.
In an interview on CNBC after the market closed, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that uncertainty over the fiscal cliff was standing in the way of stronger economic growth, and that there was no prospect for an agreement if tax rates didn't rise on the wealthiest taxpayers.
The stock of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc fell 16 percent to $32.17 and ranked as the S&P 500's biggest percentage decliner. The company said it was acquiring Plains Exploration & Production Co and McMoRan Exploration Co in two separate deals for $9 billion in cash and stock in a major expansion into energy.
McMoRan Exploration soared 87 percent to $15.82 and Plains surged 23.4 percent to $44.50.
About half of the stocks