Stocks rose on Thursday as JPMorgan's better-than-expected profit added to optimism about bank stabilization, while expectations of reassuring technology results boosted bellwethers like Hewlett-Packard and Google Inc .

A decline in the shares of energy companies, however, limited the gains of the Dow Jones industrial average.

Shares of JPMorgan climbed almost 2 percent to $33.11, while those of Citigroup , due to post quarterly results on Friday, rose almost 2 percent to $4.04. The KBW Bank index <.BKX> rose nearly 1 percent.

On the technology front, shares of Hewlett-Packard rose 3.6 percent to $36.10, making the stock the Dow's second top boost, behind International Business Machines Corp , up 1.5 percent to $100.30.

On Nasdaq, Apple Inc shares jumped 3.6 percent to $121.87, while Google gained 2.8 percent to $390.13.

So far we've had some encouraging news, at least they're stable and we've got some banks that are making money, said Frank Lesh, futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago. Some of these better-than-expected situations with the banks hold the market up.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 7.64 points, or 0.10 percent, to 8,037.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 4.22 points, or 0.50 percent, to 856.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 22.24 points, or 1.37 percent, to 1,649.04.

Optimism in the technology sector received a boost from cell phone maker Nokia's after its announcement that a drop in demand for its products was stabilizing, driving its shares up 10 percent in New York.

Aside from JPMorgan in the financial sector, Regions Financial said it will post a first quarter profit, sending the regional banking company up more than 26 percent to $6.31. JPMorgan's results beat analysts' expectations as debt trading and underwriting revenue surged.

HP shares rose after Citigroup wrote that the company's quarter was tracking ahead of guidance and consensus. Google, the Web Search leader, is due to post quarterly results after the bell. The mean estimate of analysts polled by Reuters is for earnings of $4.93 a share and revenue of $5.53 billion in the quarter.

Also boosting sentiment were stronger-than-expected quarterly results from Harley-Davidson Inc that pointed to some stabilization in consumer spending. The motorcycle maker's shares rose 6.8 percent to $18.34.

On the downside, shares of Chevron Corp were a top drag on the Dow, off 1.6 percent to $65.62.

Downbeat broker comments weighed on American Express , off 2.7 percent to $20.07. In one sign of the recession's impact on consumers, General Growth Properties Inc , the second-largest U.S. mall owner, on Thursday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it one of the biggest victims of the credit crisis yet.

The day's economic data provided a mixed picture. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey of regional manufacturing showed a less drastic contraction, while the Commerce Department data showed housing starts fell 10.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units, the second lowest on record dating back to 1959.

(Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr)

(Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)