A look at highlights from the day's business news:
September surprise: Stocks soar
The bulls are back on Wall Street. After a bearish August, stocks roared into September with a major rally Wednesday, as investors cheered signs of strength in the manufacturing sector.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 256 points, or 2.2 percent. The S&P 500 (SPX) soared 31 points, or 2.9 percent. The Nasdaq (COMP) composite rallied 63 points, or 3 percent.
The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Earl back to Category 4; East Coast nervous: Hurricane warnings and watches stretched from North Carolina to Delaware and covered parts of Massachusetts on Wednesday as forecasters upgraded Hurricane Earl to a Category 4 storm and warned it will be approaching the East Coast by late Thursday.
Suspect in Discovery standoff is dead: Three hostages were rescued from the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, Wednesday afternoon after police shot and killed the man who was holding them, officials said.
Actress tearfully denies sham marriage: Closing arguments were set for Wednesday in the trial of Mexican soap opera actress Fernanda Romero on federal charges that her marriage was an illegal sham intended only to earn her a U.S. work permit.
Doc found dead in boyfriend's chimney: The decomposed body of a California doctor was found lodged in her boyfriend's chimney, several days after she had apparently attempted to get inside his home, police said.
Apple overhauls iPods:¬†A reworked line of iPods and a new, drastically cheaper version of Apple TV are on the way.
Bitter rivals Ohio State and Michigan won't be in the same division when the Big Ten reorganizes its football setup in 2011. But they still will play each other every year and, if they're both good enough, possibly even twice.
The Big Ten on Wednesday announced the alignments of its two new football divisions, which will debut when the conference expands to 12 schools by adding Nebraska next year. The introduction of the divisions - the conference currently has no such thing - will allow for a new conference championship game akin to those played in some other big conferences, with the winner of each division battling for the title.
The alignments for the new divisions, which have yet to be named, are as follows:
[Updated at 5:03 p.m.] Police officers shot the suspect at about 4:50 p.m., Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters. All three hostages are safe and out of the building.
"The suspect is in custody," he said. Manger said he had no information about the suspect's condition.
A number of devices in backpacks have to be rendered safe, he added.
During negotiations, "he had a wide range of emotions," he said.
[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Montgomery County Police spokesman Paul Starks told reporters there remained no reports of injuries, but he could not confirm whether everyone had been evacuated from the building, nor would he say how many hostages were being held.
"We're just continuing to talk to the man and we're hoping to bring about a safe and successful resolution," Montgomery County Police spokesman Paul Starks told reporters.
"It's my understanding that Montgomery County police officers are speaking with him," he said, adding that he believed the conversation was being held by phone. "That has been continuing with him for well over an hour, closing in on two hours now."
The imam behind the controversial Park51 Islamic community center project is returning home after a State Department-sponsored tour in the Middle East, department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday.
Toner said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will leave the region on Thursday and be back in New York the same day.
This was his fourth outreach trip overseas for the State Department. In 2007, he made two similar trips to the Middle East for the Bush administration, and in January this year he traveled to Egypt, his first trip or the Obama administration.
Two Yemeni men arrested at Schiphol International Airport in the Netherlands have been freed, Dutch authorities said Wednesday.
"Given that no evidence has been found to support the initial accusation, there is no reason to hold the men any longer and they are no longer considered suspects," Dutch prosecutors said on their website.
The men were arrested Monday when items in their luggage prompted concerns they were doing a "dry run" for a terror attack.
- CNN's Francesca Church contributed to this report.
The Oscar-winning actor and producer surprised viewers last night when he told "Late Show" host David Letterman that he has Stage 4 throat cancer. Looking thinner after finishing his first week of radiation and chemotherapy, Michael Douglas said he'd felt symptoms and sought medical attention earlier this summer, but the disease was not diagnosed until three weeks ago.
Audience members gasped when Douglas, 65, said the disease was at Stage 4. Letterman – polite, but persistently curious – asked, "Is Stage 4 where you want to be, or not where you want to be?"
"No." Douglas said with a humorous beat. The good news, he said, was that the disease has not spread and that he has an 80 percent chance of recovery. Also not apparently affected yet: Douglas' trademark voice. "This is just the first week," Douglas admitted, "so the progression goes down. ... The radiation continues to burn your mouth. ... You can't take solids."
Douglas said smoking and drinking contributed causing the cancer.
In a People magazine cover story released today, Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, admitted the treatment was exhausting the otherwise indefatigable performer. Still, Douglas said, "I'll beat this."
Hakimullah Mehsud, a key leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been charged for his alleged involvement in the murder of seven U.S. citizens at an American military base in Afghanistan in 2009, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
A $5 million reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of Mehsud and another top Pakistani Taliban leader, Wali Ur Rehman, U.S. officials announced Wednesday.
A complaint listed two criminal charges against Mehsud.
The group - which was declared a terrorist organization by the United States - is believed to be responsible for terrorist acts, including the December 30, 2009, suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan and the attempted Times Square bombing earlier this year.
In an attempt to be the Notre Dame of the west, Brigham Young is leaving the Mountain West Conference and taking its football program with it.
With big paydays and nationally televised games widening their eyes, BYU announced Tuesday it would leave the MWC in 2011-12 and join the West Coast Conference with one glaring exception. The school‚Äôs football team is going independent.
The move should increase BYU‚Äôs (43-9 over its last four seasons) exposure and bank account, but could complicate filling out a schedule every year. In addition to BYU holding a Wednesday news conference to explain its decision, here‚Äôs what else is going on in the world of sports (all times Eastern):
– FIBA World Basketball Championships: U.S. versus Iran (noon, ESPN)
After squeaking past Brazil with a 70-68 victory on Sunday, the U.S. is back in action today against an opponent as contrasting as the two countries‚Äô political views. Kevin Durant led Team USA last time out with 27 points and 10 rebounds. SI.com is live blogging all the action.
Hurricane Earl made its presence known Wednesday despite being hundreds of miles from the East Coast of the U.S., menacing swimmers with dangerous rip currents and large swells as forecasters expanded a hurricane watch northward from North Carolina into coastal Virginia.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Ocracoke Island, on North Carolina's Outer Banks, and Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Dare County Emergency Management officials issued a mandatory evacuation order Wednesday for all visitors to Hatteras Island, effective immediately.
A new video by trapped miners in Chile shows them in good spirits, with shaved faces, wearing new clothes and sleeping on camp beds.
The nearly 23-minute video, made available to families Tuesday, was shown to reporters Wednesday.
In it, the some of the 33 miners are seen wearing red T-shirts, blue shorts with white stripes and calf-length rubber boots.
Tropical Depression Nine has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.
The storm joins Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storm Fiona churning in the Atlantic waters.
Hurricane Earl made its presence known Wednesday despite being hundreds of miles from the East Coast of the U.S., menacing swimmers with dangerous rip currents and large swells as forecasters expanded a hurricane watch northward from North Carolina into coastal Virginia. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Ocracoke Island, on North Carolina's Outer Banks, and Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Three people died and dozens were injured in riots over increases in the price of bread, water, energy and other critical goods in Mozambique, the southern African nation's official news agency reported Wednesday.
The violence took place in the cities of Maputo and Matola, with the deaths occurring on the outskirts of Maputo, the Mozambique News Agency reported.
Bank and electricity company offices were vandalized, and food warehouses belonging to the Sasseka and Delta Trading distribution companies were looted, the report said.
If you're worried about how the wild ponies on North Carolina's Outer Banks will survive Hurricane Earl, hold your horses.
"The horses have been here for about 500 years, so obviously they have a plan for what works best for them" when a big storm blows through, said Denise Wells, director of operations with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
The 88 colonial Spanish mustangs that roam more than 7,500 acres on a peninsula in Currituck County's Corolla area are descendants of animals left behind by 16th-century Spanish explorers and traders.
A separate herd of 124 mustangs lives on National Park Service land on Shackleford Island, at the opposite end of the Outer Banks.
The Corolla herd fluctuates as high as 116 animals at times, although it is limited by law to 60, Wells said. A bill in Congress would allow the herd to expand to at least 110, the minimum needed to ensure genetic diversity, she said.
The horses' space includes high ground where they can ride out a storm and avoid any storm surge, Wells said.
But the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a small nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Outer Banks horses, maintains an offsite breeding program just in case disaster strikes the herd, she said. The staff and volunteers of the fund will follow whatever evacuation advice the county gives, Wells said. The rugged area's handful of year-round residents will make their own choices as the storm approaches, she added.
Chile miner video - Officials are expected to distribute on Wednesday copies of a 25-minute video that the miners, who have been trapped underground for more than three weeks, sent for their relatives. The video, sent Tuesday, held another round of greetings from the 33 men, family members who had seen it told CNN.
After a private screening held in the tents that comprise Camp Hope at the entrance to the mine, some relatives emerged solemn-faced; others were teary, yet most appeared happy. All the family members said the miners appeared to be in much better condition, much cleaner and much better organized than they had appeared during the first video, which was sent up last Thursday.
Apple event - In the tech world, it's become an annual rite of fall. Apple CEO Steve Jobs and company have, for the past five years, used September as the time to announce new products and services among the company's music offerings. Last year, Jobs - making his first public appearance since returning to work after a liver transplant - unveiled some changes to the iPod lineup, including new Nanos with video cameras, and announced slashed prices on the portable music players.
CNN's Doug Gross takes a look at what will - and won't - be unveiled today. And by the way, for the first time, Apple will be livestreaming the event on its Apple.com website. But if you've got a PC and don't have an Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iMac, iEtc), don't bother - only Apple users can see it. You will, however, be able to see a tape-delayed version of the announcement on CNN.com here.
An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on some of the stories we're following on Wednesday:
Spain prostitution - A trafficking ring responsible for bringing 60 to 80 young male prostitutes to Spain from South America has been dismantled by Spanish police. The men were allegedly plied with drugs and Viagra and forced to work around the clock after the ring bombarded them with death threats. Read the full story
Cricket cheating claims - A meeting between the Pakistan cricket players at the centre of an alleged cheating storm and the country‚Äôs top cricket officials due to have taken place in London has been postponed until Thursday. In the meantime, the national team continues to practice in Taunton, UK ahead of a match against Somerset Cricket Club.