Wall Street Leaps as McDonald's Surges, Draghi Talks

By FOXBusiness

Euphoria over a big beat for McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) in the third quarter and the possibility of more stimulus from the ECB sent Wall Street surging on Thursday.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 320 points, or 1.87% to 17489. The S&P 500 gained 33 points, or 1.67% to 2052, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 79 points, or 1.65% to 4920.

The health-care sector declined, while technology and industrials were the biggest gainers on the session.

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McDonald’s helped propel Wall Street higher after the burger giant had a much better quarter than had been expected, sending its shares popping as much as 8%. The Big-Mac maker handily beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines, and revealed its first same-store sales increase in two years. The company said that was attributable to its new buttermilk chicken sandwich and the return to the “classic recipe ingredients” for its breakfast staple, the Egg McMuffin.

The world’s biggest burger chain was the biggest gainer on the Dow, accounting for about 55 points. The stock set a new record close after adding $7.85 billion in market value.

Dow component Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) revealed a miss on both the top and bottom lines, and said its quarterly profit was hit by lower global machinery sales during the period as construction activity has remained sluggish the world over. Shares of the construction-equipment giant dropped in pre-market action on the news.

Shares of 3M were also lower ahead of the opening bell after the maker of Scotch tape and Post-its revealed mixed results with profit that came in higher than expected. The company said, though, it saw a 5% decline in sales for the quarter, and plans to slash 1,500 jobs in 2016 thanks to weakness in the global economy. 3M also lowered its full-year sales and profit forecast.

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) revealed a mixed 3Q, while Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) revealing a 51.4% surge in profit as costs for raw materials fell, and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) unveiled a better-than-expected quarterly profit result, while forecasting higher revenue in the 4Q.

Set for release after the closing bell were tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of Google, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and AT&T (NYSE:T).

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank kept rates on hold, but ECB President Mario Draghi said at a press conference that the central bank would review strategies at its December meeting that could help battle weak inflation. He added that the ECB will continue its 60 billion euro asset-purchase program, and said it could extend well beyond September 2016 until inflation nears its 2% target.

“December certainly seems the most likely time for eurozone monetary policy to be ramped up, when the ECB has to determine whether to raise the rate of purchases from the current €60 billion per month, cut the deposit rate yet further, or else push back the end date beyond the current September 2016 deadline,” Josh Mahony, IG market analyst, said in a note.

European markets cheered the news, which also helped propel markets in the U.S. higher on the session.

The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks large-cap companies in the eurozone rose 2.10%, while the German Dax gained 2.48%, the French CAC 40 added 2.28%, and the UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.44%.

The euro dropped 1.69% against the U.S. dollar, while the greenback was mostly higher against a basket of other global currencies.

Back in the U.S., weekly jobless claims came in lower than forecast. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose to 259,000 from an upwardly revised 256,000. Economists expected a higher rise to 265,000 from an initially reported 255,000.

The National Association of Realtors reports sales of existing single-family homes jumped 4.7% last month to an annualized rate of 5.55 million units. The increase was more than the rise to 5.38 million units Wall Street has anticipated. No Fed speak was on tap as the central bank has entered a quiet period before its October policy meeting next week. In the meantime, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 0.009 percentage point to 2.039%.

Elsewhere in the market, global oil prices recovered from losses seen in the prior session as worries about a global supply glut still loom. U.S. crude prices were 0.40% higher to $45.38 a barrel, while Brent, the international benchmark, gained 0.48% to $48.08 a barrel.

Metals were mixed as gold flat-lined around $1,166 a troy ounce. Silver gained 0.81% to $15.82 an ounce, and copper rose 0.87% to $2.38 a pound.