New York CNN  — 

Here comes the Santa Claus market rally.

Stocks surged Wednesday as investors cheered healthy results from two of America’s leading companies and a surprisingly strong reading on consumer sentiment.

The Dow finished with a gain of more than 525 points, or 1.6%, after FedEx (FDX) and Dow component Nike (NKE) each reported earnings that topped analysts’ forecasts. FedEx (FDX) rose 3% and Nike (NKE) soared nearly 13%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gained 1.5% as well.

Walgreens (WBA) was one of just two Dow losers, falling more than 2%. Concerns about shortages of popular pain relief medications for kids may be an issue for investors. Walgreen rival CVS (CVS) was down about 1.5%. Weak guidance from rival Rite Aid (RAD) didn’t help: Rite Aid (RAD) shares plunged more than 17%.

Stocks are still down for the month of December despite Wednesday’s rally. And barring a Christmas miracle, the major indexes will all end deeply in the red for the year. Still, the market could at least finish 2022 on a positive note following strong gains for stocks in both October and November.

Wall Street was also cheering a better-than-expected report on consumer confidence from the Conference Board Wednesday. The Consumer Confidence Index for December rose from last month’s level and easily topped economists’ expectations. It appears that consumers are becoming slightly less worried about inflation.

The jump in sentiment on Main Street came even as more signs point to a continued slowdown in the housing market. Existing home sales tumbled 7.7% in November, a bigger drop than forecast. It is the tenth straight month of declining sales.

More stocks on the move

In other corporate news, Tesla’s (TSLA) stock was flat after CEO Elon Musk said he was looking for a person to replace him as the head of Twitter after Twitter users voted in favor of him stepping down as CEO of the social media company that he bought for $44 billion.

Tesla shares have plunged 60% this year, partly due to shareholder concerns that Musk is distracted by the never-ending drama at Twitter. There are also worries that Musk’s often polarizing tweets could alienate potential buyers of Tesla’s pricey electric cars.

Shares of cruise king Carnival (CCL) rose about 5% after the company reported a narrower loss than what analysts were expecting.

But BlackBerry (BB), the former mobile device leader that has since morphed into a cybersecurity company, tumbled 10% to a new 52-week low following a weak outlook.

There’s more turmoil in the world of cryptocurrencies too. Bitcoin prices were slightly lower Wednesday as investors wait for Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the bankrupt FTX exchange, to be extradited from the Bahamas to the US.

The carnage in crypto continues to claim more victims as well. Bitcoin miner Core Scientific filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday. Shares of Core Scientific plunged more than 75%, to about 5 cents a share.