Not-as-bad economic data drives stocks higher

From a slightly higher core reading from the consumer price index to better-than-expect housing data to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which revealed that some of the 12 Fed regions are seeing a deceleration in the slowdown, economic news best described as "less bad" helped buoy stocks today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 109 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 8,030.

Financial stocks including JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and American Express (AXP) were among the Dow's biggest gainers, while tech companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) fell.