The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) rallied again for the second straight day, helped up by more signals from Federal Reserve officials that interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future, as well as by positive rumors out of China.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average 181.19 [1.41%] 12,986.58
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) 39.09 [1.30%] 3,055.55
S&P 500 18.86 [1.38%] 1,387.57

The Dow increased from the opening bell this morning, after rumors of better-than-expected first-quarter China GDP numbers due tonight. Those expected numbers have investors optimistic that the slowdown in China may not be as bad as expected. There was also some good news out of debt-plagued Europe as well, with yields on benchmark Italian and Spanish bonds dropping. Combining yesterday and today, the Dow's two-day gain of 2.1% is its best all year, erasing more than half of its losses after five straight days of declines.

By far the biggest winner today on the Dow was Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), up 7.2%. Research firms Gartner and IDC reported that global PC shipments rose by around 2% in the first quarter, which was slightly ahead of expectations. HP remained the world's No. 1 PC maker by volume, with a worldwide market share of 17.2% (Gartner) to 18% (IDC). Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) was the third biggest PC maker in the U.S., with Dell taking the No. 2 spot. HP's PC shipments grew faster than even Apple's, and HP was more successful than other PC makers at getting its hands on hard drives, which were in short supply after the Thai floods.

Outside the Dow, tech giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) reported earnings after the bell today that beat expectations. The company posted earnings per share of $10.88, which topped analyst expectations of $9.66. Notably, Google CEO Larry Page also announced a "new class of non-voting capital stock," which he said is "effectively a stock split." U.S. paid clicks for the company was 39% higher than a year earlier, but the average cost that Google earned from advertisers decreased by 12% from a year prior.

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Brendan Byrnes owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple, writing covered calls on Dell, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.