Stocks moved sharply higher at the start of trading on Thursday, with the major averages seeing some further upside after showing a strong upward move over the course of the previous session. The initial strength reflects some optimism about the outlook for the economy.

The upward move reflects significant strength in a variety of sectors, with steel, oil service, and banking stocks turning in some of the best performances in early trading. Meanwhile, gold stocks are bucking the uptrend amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.

In the past few minutes, the major averages have edged down off their highs for the young session, although they are holding onto strong gains. The Dow is currently up 160.57 at 7,922.17, the Nasdaq is up 29.63 at 1,581.23 and the S&P 500 is up 18.63 at 829.71.

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