FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here
Strong data on the labor market left traders in a bullish mood ahead of the all-important jobs report due out on Friday.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 187 points, or 1.2%, to 15627, the S&P 500 gained 21.7 points, or 1.2%, to 1773 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 45.6 points, or 1.1%, to 4057.
Thursday was busy on the economic front.
The European Central Bank held its benchmark interest rate at a record low as it looks to boost inflation, which has come in at a tepid 0.7% across the eurozone. The Bank of England also held rates at record lows. The Federal Reserve has said repeatedly low inflation poses a risk to the U.S. economy as well.
Meanwhile, Ghana's central bank hiked interest rates by 2% as it works to defend its currency. It's the latest emerging-market central bank to make a move like this.
The Commerce Department said the U.S. trade gap widened in December to $38.7 billion from $34.56 billion the month prior. Wall Street expected the gap to widen to $36 billion.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to 331,000 from an upwardly revised 351,000. Wall Street expected claims to fall to 335,000 from an initially-reported 348,000.
The closely-watched monthly employment report from the Labor Department is due out on Friday. This report is likely to take particular significance after the December data trailed estimates.
On the corporate front, Twitter (TWTR) shares tumbled after the micro-blogging site showed tepid user growth. Still, quarterly earnings topped estimates. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) rallied after it revealed a minority stake by Coca-Cola (KO) and plans to enter the at-home cold beverage market. The move initially sent shares of SodaStream (SODA) tumbling, but then they rebounded early Thursday.
In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures rose 62 cents, or 0.66%, to $98.03 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rallied 1.1% to $2.67 a gallon. Gold gained $2.10, or 0.17%, to $1,259 a troy ounce.