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U.S. equities posted a comeback rally on Thursday, roaring higher as traders reviewed a slew of earnings reports and economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 110 points, or 0.7%, to 15848, the S&P 500 advanced 20 points, or 1.1%, to 1794 and the Nasdaq Composite soared 71.7 points, or 1.8%, to 4123.
The markets took a beating last session, with the Dow officially entering pullbcack mode and striking the lowest level since November. The drop has been driven by concerns about instability in emerging-market currencies.
Abby Joseph Cohen, a senior investment strategist at Goldman Sachs, said the recent volatility "is the correction" Wall Street feared for a long time. She said she expects the turmoil in emerging markets to cool down, and stocks to push modestly higher for the year amid tepid corporate profits.
Earnings stole the spotlight early on Wall Street. ExxonMobil (XOM) posted weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter results, sending shares of the biggest publicly-traded energy company sliding.
Facebook (FB) posted better-than-expected results after the closing bell on Wednesday, sending its share surging 18%. 3M (MMM), the consumer products giant, revealed profits that meet the Street's view, but revenues that came in shy. UPS (UPS) revealed better-than-expected profits, but a full-year outlook that missed estimates. After the bell, Google (GOOG) and Amazon.com (AMZN) step up to bat.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter, down from 4.1% from the previous quarter. The reading matched Wall Street’s estimates. Commerce noted the government shutdown in October reduced fourth-quarter GDP by about 0.3 percentage point.
The Labor Department reported the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose last week to 348,000 from an upwardly revised 329,000 the week prior. Wall Street expected the number of claims to rise to 330,000 from an initially-reported 326,000.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported signed contracts to buy previously-owned homes dropped 8.7% in December, widely missing economists’ expectations they would remain unchanged. Pending home sales came in at the lowest level since October 2011.
In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures rose 33 cents, or 0.35%, to $97.70 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.14% to $2.665 a gallon. Gold fell $7.50, or 0.59%, to $1,255 a troy ounce.