Stocks moved sharply higher at the start of trading on Thursday, benefiting from a positive reaction to the latest news out of Europe. The major averages all showed strong moves to the upside after ending the previous session mixed.
The initial rally was largely due to comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who promised to do what is needed to support to beleaguered eurozone.
"Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro," Draghi said at an investment conference in London. "And believe me, it will be enough."
Relatively upbeat U.S. economic data also generated some buying interest, with a report from the Labor Department showing a much bigger than expected drop in weekly jobless claims.
Most of the major sectors have moved to the upside in early trading, reflecting broad based buying interest. Electronic storage stocks are posting particularly strong gains, driving the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index up by 5 percent.
Western Digital (WDC: Quote) is leading the storage sector higher, surging up by 21.1 percent after reporting much stronger than expected fourth quarter earnings.
Telecom stocks have also moved sharply higher, with Sprint Nextel (S: Quote) posting a standout gain after reporting second quarter sales growth that exceeded analyst estimates.
Oil service, semiconductor, housing, and biotechnology stocks are also posting notable gains in early trading, while airline stocks are bucking the uptrend.
The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the young session but are currently holding on to strong gains. The Dow is up 215.24 points or 1.7 percent at 12,891.29, the Nasdaq is up 44.01 points or 1.5 percent at 2,898.25 and the S&P 500 is up 20.69 points or 1.6 percent at 1,358.58.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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