Stocks moved sharply higher at the start of trading on Thursday, with the major averages adding to the gains posted in the previous session. The initial strength reflects some positive comments from Wells Fargo (WFC) as well as some better than expected economic data.

Before the start of trading, Wells Fargo said that it now expects to report first quarter earnings of $3 billion or $0.55 per share compared to analyst estimates of $0.23 per share. Banking stocks are helping to lead the markets higher on the news.

Significant strength has also emerged in a variety of other sectors, with steel, housing, oil service, and trucking stocks posting particularly strong gains. On the other hand, some weakness has emerged in the gold sector.

The major averages have seen some further upside in the past few minutes, rising to new highs for the young session. The Dow is currently up 154.51 at 7,991.62, the Nasdaq is up 31.53 at 1,622.19 and the S&P 500 is up 20.45 at 845.61.

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