Better-than-expected second-quarter results from Caterpillar (CAT), often seen as a proxy of sorts for the broader economy, and optimistic remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke helped stocks push higher today. The Dow Jones industrial average extended its longest rally in two years, climbing 68 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 8,916.

Thanks to CIT Group (CIT) and its struggles, bank shares lagged. The S&P 500's financial stocks fell 0.8 percent, compared with a gain of about 0.4 percent for the broader index.

For more on stocks making moves today, be sure to check out BloggingStocks' market wrap-up.

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