Stocks jumped on Thursday after major economically sensitive companies, including UPS and 3M, reported strong revenues, easing investor concerns about future growth.

Major indexes rose more than 2 percent as companies also raised forecasts for coming quarters, reversing some of the negative sentiment surrounding the pace of economic recovery.

The mood had worsened on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's downbeat testimony triggered a broad sell-off.

Investors were cheered after United Parcel Service Inc , the world's largest package delivery company, raised its outlook, sending its shares up 6 percent to $64. The company is viewed as a barometer of economic demand.

UPS guiding higher is a very good sign since the amount of shipping volume is directly correlated to the strength of the economy, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer of Oakbrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Ill.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 208.05 points, or 2.06 percent, at 10,328.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 24.23 points, or 2.27 percent, at 1,093.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> grew 54.36 points, or 2.49 percent, at 2,241.69

Manufacturing companies Caterpillar Inc rose 1 percent to $67.77 and 3M Co rose 3.2 percent to $84.63 after they reported higher-than-expected results.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by almost 10 to one on the New York Stock Exchange, and by about six to one on the Nasdaq.

Stocks also benefited from data showing U.S. existing-home sales fell less sharply than expected, and the median home sales price rose by 1 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an 8.1 percent decline in home existing home sales, compared to the actual 5.1 percent drop.

Home sales data was great. On an absolute basis, it's (bad), but, man, it is in the right direction and certainly crunched consensus, and that is great news, said Burt White, managing director and chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston.

The PHLX Housing index <.HGX> rose 3.5 percent on the housing data. Housing companies KB Home rose 2 percent to $10.86 and Lennar Corp rose jumped 3.7 percent to $14.84.

August crude futures rose 3 percent as the possibility of a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico disrupting production increased. The S&P 500 energy sector <.GSPE> rose 2.4 percent.

(Reporting by Matthew Lynley; Editing by Kenneth Barry)