U.S. stocks soared in afternoon trading on Thursday, buoyed by a handful of companies releasing strong earnings reports along with some positive economic reports in the U.S. and Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently up over 300 points, or 1.9%, enjoying its best day since October 2013. The closely-watched index received a major boost thanks to two Dow 30 companies, 3M and Caterpillar, releasing strong quarterly financial reports on Thursday morning. Both companies’ shares were up more than 5% Thursday afternoon after 3M reported a sales bump and Caterpillar posted strong earnings thanks to effective cost-cutting. General Motors and apparel company Under Armour also posted strong earnings on Thursday.
The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 are on pace to post their third winning day of the week, despite small dips on Wednesday, as the two indices were lately up 2% and 1.7%, respectively.
The market was also propped up today by news that jobless claims filed in the U.S. over the last month fell to their lowest average in more than 14 years. Another positive note came from the Conference Board’s index climbed 0.8%, suggesting continued economic growth in the U.S. carrying over into 2015. Meanwhile, investors were also encouraged by positive Eurozone economic reports, including a rebound in German manufacturing and a drop in unemployment in Spain.
After slogging through several volatile weeks recently, the U.S. market has managed to recover some of its losses this week. The Dow is also on pace today to notch its third positive finish so far this week, including Tuesday’s 215-point jump, and has already grown by 2.3% this week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 actually had a four-day winning streak broken on Wednesday, when the blue-chip index dipped 0.7%. The S&P 500 is now up 3.9% for the week, while the Nasdaq has improved by almost 5% so far this week.