Stocks showed a strong upward move during trading on Thursday, as investors reacted well to mixed economic news and liked what they heard from the G-20 summit in London. The continued advance also reflected some optimism about a stabilization in the economy.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims in the week ended March 28th unexpectedly rose to 669,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 657,000. With the increase, jobless claims rose to a new twenty-six year high.

While the data added to concerns about Friday's monthly employment report, Peter Boockvar of Miller Tabak noted, Participants are looking past this employment data and placing their chips on the 'worst is over' belief, and the still worsening labor market is a lagging indicator.

Meanwhile, traders were also keeping a close on the Group of 20 Summit in London, with the world leaders assembled at the meeting pledging to do whatever is necessary to end the economic crisis.

President Barack Obama called the agreements reached by leaders a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.

While the major averages gave back some ground going into the close, they still ended the session firmly positive. The Dow closed up 216.48 points or 2.8 percent at 7,978.08, the Nasdaq closed up 51.03 points or 3.3 percent at 1,602.63 and the S&P 500 closed up 23.30 points or 2.9 percent at 834.38.

With the gains, the Dow and the S&P 500 ended the session at their best closing levels in nearly two months, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq set a nearly three-month closing high.

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