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Stocks Snap Losing Streak, Rising Slightly
CNBC.com | January 11, 2011 | 04:52 PM EST

Stocks closed up modestly, easing off the highs of the day, as upbeat earnings reports and rising commodity prices gave a lift to the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 34.43 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 11,671.88, after gaining about 66 points earlier. The Dow ended down the three previous sessions.

Bank of America , Intel and Chevron led blue-chips higher, whileVerizon and AT&T lagged.

The S&P 500 gained 4.73 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 1,274.48. The Nasdaq rose 9.03 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,716.83. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 17.

Most key S&P sectors advanced, led by energy, materials and health care.Telecom fell.

The dollar traded flat against a basket of currenciesas did the euro. Worries about euro zone debt still lingered among some investors who turned to gold, pushing the price of the precious metal up for a second day to $1,384 an ounce.

There are "lots of eyes on commodities and commodity-driven stocks," Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland.

Specialty chemical makers attracted particular notice, Kruszenski said, citing Ferro, which was up about 7 percent, as well as PolyOne and A. Shulman.

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