NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks shrugged off weeks of lackluster trading and forged higher on Thursday (Oct 14) following strong earnings and better-than-expected economic data.
Analysts greeted a trove of strong results from leading banks, as well as good earnings from Dow member UnitedHealth and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Other catalysts included a big drop in United States unemployment claims that left the weekly benchmark below 300,000 last week for the first time since the pandemic began.
"It's a bit of a sigh of a relief rally," said National Securities chief strategist Art Hogan. "Earnings are here and so far they're not disruptive."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.6 per cent to 34,912.56, advancing more than 530 points.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.7 per cent to 4,438.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also climbed 1.7 per cent to 14,823.43.
Markets also took stock of the latest reading on wholesale prices from the Labour Department. The producer price index climbed 8.6 per cent last month compared with September last year, their biggest gain in a decade but slower than the month prior.
Hogan said the market was due for a good day after struggling most of last month and this month.
"We've been grinding lower since September, so the table was set for some good news."
Among individual companies reporting results, Walgreens Boots Alliance surged 7.4 per cent and UnitedHealth won 4.2 per cent.
Large banks mostly rose after strong earnings results, although Wells Fargo fell 1.6 per cent even as its results topped estimates.