Market Wrap: Stocks End Stronger as Global Debt Worries Fade

Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP

By Noel Randewich

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks ended higher Thursday, helped by a jump in tech stocks and a reversal in surging global interest rates.

Strong quarterly results from Alibaba as well as speculation that consumer review website could be for sale drove technology stocks higher, with the S&P tech index up 0.87 percent.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits held near a 15-year low last week, suggesting positive momentum in the economy, but not so much as to change expectations for a September interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-That drastic, draconian move in bonds and violent updraft in oil are settling a little bit and that's helping us focus on stocks.%A recent run-up in global interest rates that has worried Wall Street also showed signs of stabilizing, while a rally in oil prices snapped.

"That drastic, draconian move in bonds and violent updraft in oil are settling a little bit and that's helping us focus on stocks," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Investors are looking ahead to Friday's April payroll report that will offer a fresh indication of the economy's health and could potentially affect when the Fed raises interest rates for the first time since 2006. Most of Wall Street's top banks see the Federal Reserve holding off until at least September before raising interest rates, based on Reuters' most recent poll.

"Tomorrow's report would have to be a monster month for us to believe June is back on the table," Hogan said.

How Stocks Fared

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 82.08 points, or 0.46 percent, to end at 17,924.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) gained 7.85 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,088 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 25.90 points, or 0.53 percent, to 4,945.54.

After the bell, CBS Corp.'s (CBS) first-quarter results exceeded expectations and its stock was up 1 percent in extended trade.

In Thursday's trading session, nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors were positive, led by technology and financial indices.

Alibaba's (BABA) shares jumped 7.5 percent as the Chinese e-commerce giant reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue.

Yahoo (YHOO), which holds a stake in Alibaba, ended up 5.3 percent.

Yelp (YELP) soared 23 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported that the operator of consumer review website is exploring a sale.

Oil prices fell after touching their highest in 2015 on Wednesday, pushing the energy index down 1.1 percent while lifting airline stocks.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,763 to 1,292, for a 1.36-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,528 issues rose and 1,207 fell for a 1.27-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 7 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq composite was recording 46 new highs and 60 new lows.

About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7.1 billion daily average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

-With additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal.

What to watch Friday:

  • The Labor Department releases employment data for April at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

  • The Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for March at 10 a.m.

Earnings Season
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results: