KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 299 points, or 1.8 percent, to 17,468 as of 2:59 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 32 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,051. The Nasdaq gained 72 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,912. The gains brought the S&P 500 index nearly back to breakeven for the year following sharp declines in August and September.
STIMULATING PROSPECT: Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, signaled Thursday that the bank could boost monetary stimulus at the its next meeting in December. That raised expectations that the ECB might extend its $ 1.2 trillion bond purchase program. Draghi also said that the ECB was also considering other measures, such as further cutting one of its key interest rates.
THE QUOTE: “The market was in a tight trading range leading up to today’s move to the upside, waiting for a catalyst in essence to push the market in one direction or the other,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. “And you can see clearly that the Draghi comments were very positively received by the market.”
SECTOR VIEW: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index notched gains, led by industrials, up 2.6 percent. Health care stocks fell 0.9 percent.
E-GAINER: EBay jumped 13.2 percent a day after the e-commerce company reported results that came in well ahead of what analysts were expecting. The stock rose $ 3.19 to $ 27.40.
HAPPY MEAL: McDonald’s climbed 7.8 percent after the world’s largest burger chain said its sales increased in the third quarter. McDonald’s shares added $ 7.98 to $ 110.52.
STRONG RESULTS: Texas Instruments vaulted 11.9 percent after the chipmaker reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit and revenue and gave an upbeat outlook for the current quarter. The stock added $ 6.18 to $ 58.08.
FEELING SICK: Several health care stocks were trading lower. Tenet Healthcare slumped $ 6.82, or 19.6 percent, to $ 27.99. HCA Holdings fell $ 5.64, or 7.9 percent, to $ 65.59, while fellow hospital owner Universal Health Services slid $ 14.71, or 11.7 percent, to $ 110.76.
FALLING SHORT: Homebuilder PulteGroup fell 7.5 percent after the company reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The builder shed $ 1.46 to $ 17.99.
CREDIT CRIMPED: Shares in American Express tumbled 5.9 percent a day after the credit card issuer reported a 16 percent drop in profits, missing analysts’ estimates. American Express said it was hurt by higher expenses and the strong U.S. dollar. It also cut its full-year forecast. The stock slid $ 4.51 to $ 72.01.
SOLD: The National Association of Realtors said that sales of previously occupied homes jumped 4.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million. Buying activity rebounded after slipping in August, suggesting that the U.S. housing sector remains insulated from global economic turmoil.
EUROPEAN MARKETS: Germany’s DAX rose 2.5 percent, while the CAC-40 in France rose 2.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gained 0.4 percent.
ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index finished up 1.4 percent following a 3 percent slide Wednesday. Elsewhere in Asia stock markets closed mostly lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 18 cents to $ 45.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 23 cents to $ 48.08 a barrel in London.
METALS: Precious and industrial metals futures were mixed. Gold fell $ 1 to $ 1,166.10 an ounce, silver rose 13 cents to $ 15.84 an ounce and copper gained 2 cents to $ 2.38 a pound.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.01 percent from 2.03 percent the day before. The euro fell to $ 1.1121 while the dollar rose to 120.68 yen.