Stocks rose sharply on Thursday, with the Dow and S&P up more than 2 percent, as confirmation of strong China export data eased recovery concerns and helped spur a climb in the euro.

China confirmed that exports jumped 50 percent in May from a year ago, reassuring investors about the global economy in the face of the euro-zone debt crisis, and pushing energy and materials stocks higher.

It was important because everybody is concerned about the 'what if China slows' question when everything else is already slowing, said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> soared 221.09 points, or 2.23 percent, to 10,120.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> jumped 23.06 points, or 2.18 percent, to 1,078.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 40.43 points, or 1.87 percent, to 2,199.28.

Reflecting the broad rally, only six stocks in the S&P index were in negative territory.

The euro was up more than 1 percent against the dollar as strong demand in a Spanish auction eased concerns about how the country will fund its large debt and on the Chinese data.

The market is very jittery. We haven't gotten over it yet, but the strength in the euro has given us some breathing room. added Pado.

U.S. stocks have been closely tied to the euro's movement as investors use the currency as a barometer for confidence in the euro-zone economy.

U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc , the second most active stock on the New York Stock Exchange, jumped 13 percent to $33, a day after tumbling to a 14-year low on concerns about its costs from the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The PHLX Oil Service Sector index <.OSX> jumped 4.6 percent, with Baker Hughes Inc up 8 percent to $41.39 and Halliburton Co gaining 7.4 percent to $24.21.

The number of U.S. workers filing new unemployment claims fell less than expected last week, while the trade deficit widened slightly in April, pointing to a moderate economic recovery.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)