U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday, bouncing back from three straight days of losses as better-than-expected reports on jobless claims and Consumer Price Index (CPI) buoyed sentiment, and FedEx Corp. boosted its profit forecast.
The S&P 500 Index advanced 12.83 points, or 1.02 percent, to trade at 1,269.73 at 2:05 p.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 104.83 points, or 0.9 percent, to trade at 11,718.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.86 percent.
After three straight days of losses stocks opened higher amid strong economic reports and bargains hunting.
The applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. fell last week, indicating an improvement in the labor market conditions of the nation. Initial jobless claims in the US dropped by 16,000 to 385,000 compared with the revised figure of 401,000 in the previous week and against markets expectations of 387,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims decreased 7,000 to 386,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 393,250.
The overall consumer price inflation in the U.S. rose 0.5 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, as energy prices increased sharply. The core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2 percent in January after increasing against analysts expectations of 0.1 percent gain.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s index of regional manufacturing activity jumped to its highest level since 1984 in March. The index surged to 43.4 in March from 35.9 in February and against economists’ estimation of 32.0.
On the corporate front, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) shares gained 3.37 percent as its fourth quarter earnings guidance beats estimates. The company expects fourth quarter earnings to be in the range of $1.66 to $1.83 per share, while analysts’ expected earnings per share of $1.66 per share for the fourth quarter.
Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) gained after Credit Suisse started to cover the iPad maker with an outperform rating and set a $500 price target on predictions of strong earnings growth.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the troubled nuclear power plants in northeastern Japan, said that high-pressure streams of water shot Thursday evening by plant workers effectively cooled down an overheating spent fuel pool. However, radiation levels detected around the facility have not been reduced. The latest figure indicates that after the water sprat maneuver was completed, radiation level at about 3,600 microsievert per hour, unchanged from before.
The euro advanced 0.82 percent to 1.4015 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.71 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures surged 3.42 percent to $101.33/barrel and gold futures rose 0.50 percent.