Stocks rose sharply on Thursday after an unexpected drop in new applications for unemployment benefits and strong retail sales. The Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest gain since Dec. 1 but is still below where it was trading on Feb. 18, before a three-day plunge caused by a surge in oil prices as the unrest in Libya deepened.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 191.40 points, or 1.6 percent, to 12,258.20.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 22.53, or 1.7 percent, to 1,330.97.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 50.67, or 1.8 percent, to 2,798.74.
For the week to date:
The Dow is up 127.75, or 1.1 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 11.09, or 0.8 percent.
The Nasdaq composite is up 17.69, or 0.6 percent.
For the year to date:
The Dow is up 680.69, or 5.9 percent.
The S&P is up 73.33 or 5.8 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 145.87, or 5.5 percent.