The Nasdaq led US markets toward strong gains Wednesday, helped by news that the IMF was to raise $500 billion to boost its crisis-fighting capacity. Data showing lower US inflation pressures and rising manufacturing activity last month, and a positive report on home building, also added to the upward push. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 96.88 points (0.78 percent) at 12,578.95. The broad-based S&P 500 added 14.37 (1.11 percent) to 1,308.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 41.63 (1.53 percent) to 2,769.71. Despite a dim forecast from Berlin of German growth of just 0.7 percent this year, there was some optimism over the eurozone situation after the IMF said it had the go-ahead to raise $500 billion to boost its coffers for crisis intervention. With that money, \"if the IMF has to intervene in Europe, at least it will be able to do it quickly and without risking overly concentrating its capital\" on any one country, said Evariste Lefeuvre of Natixis. \"We\'re trying to solve the problem of Greek debt ... that\'s what matters most.\" Also helping stocks were positive readings on US industrial production in December (up 0.4 percent) and wholesale inflation (down 0.1 percent). And the National Association of Home Builders reported a surge in confidence in the industry on business prospects for the coming year. \"We had certainly really encouraging news on the housing market. The NAHB index surged to 25 which shows that the housing market is beginning to turn the corner,\" said Peter Cardillo of Rockwell Global Capital. Builder stocks jumped, with Pulte rising 5.9 percent, DR Horton gaining 2.7 percent, NVR 4.1 percent, and Hovnanian 12.2 percent. Banks rose after Goldman Sachs reported a 58 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings but nevertheless greatly bettered analyst forecasts on earnings per share. Goldman shares were up 6.8 percent; Bank of America rose 4.9 percent a day before it reports fourth quarter and annual earnings; and JPMorgan Chase gained 4.7 percent. The Nasdaq\'s surge was helped by a 4.4 percent surge in online retailer Amazon and Intel\'s 1.3 percent rise. Yahoo was up 3.0 percent after Tuesday\'s announcement that co-founder Jerry Yang, long viewed as the key barrier to the struggling company selling off some of its valuable holdings, resigned from the board. Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.90 percent from 1.85 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year edged up to 2.95 percent from 2.89 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.