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JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Deal news and bank gains send stock market solidly higher

U.S. stocks notched their best day in nearly four weeks on Wednesday as investors welcomed new hints pointing to a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in coming weeks. Traders were also encouraged by more corporate deal news.

The rally pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index back into positive territory for the year.

ConAgra Foods jumped 4 percent on news the company is spinning off its frozen potatoes business. Railroad operator Norfolk Southern rose 6 percent after receiving an unsolicited takeover offer by Canadian Pacific.

Stocks in financial companies, which tend to benefit from rising interest rates, were among the biggest gainers after traders digested the...