Stocks surge on upbeat earnings, economic data

Strong earnings reports and positive economic data drove investors to shop for stocks across the board Thursday, extending gains by the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to a second day.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to a nearly 19-month low, and a separate report showed prices at the wholesale level cooling in September.

National Securities Chief Market Strategist Art Hogan senses improvement in the economy.

“When we look at both the initial jobless claims of the PPI, you gotta feeling that sequentially things have gotten better and jobless claims clearly just breached another round number being below 300,000. And it's important to remember that we started the year at 800.”

The Dow added more than 530 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained about one-and-three quarter percent.

Topping the list of gainers on the Dow and S&P: Walgreens Boots Alliance, whose quarterly revenue and adjusted profit topped estimates. The drug store operator also announced it’s taking majority stakes in two smaller health care providers.

Quarterly profit jumped at four big banks reporting Thursday, driving their shares higher except for those of Wells Fargo. Active dealmaking and the release of loan loss reserves boosted earnings at Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley.

Shares of Moderna rose after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel voted to recommend its COVID-19 booster shots for elderly Americans and those at high risk of severe illness.

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