Stronger corporate earnings and signs of a stronger job market lifted stocks Thursday. Software company Red Hat Inc., chip maker Micron Technology Inc. and Chef Boyardee maker ConAgra Foods Inc. all reported profits that beat expectations. The government also said fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are slowing.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 84.54 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,170.56.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12.12, or 0.9 percent, to 1,309.66.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 38.12, or 1.4 percent, to 2,736.42.
For the week:
The Dow is up 312.04, or 2.6 percent.
The S&P 500 is up 30.46, or 2.4 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 92.75, or 3.5 percent.
For the year to date:
The Dow is up 593.05, or 5.1 percent.
The S&P is up 52.02 or 4.1 percent.
The Nasdaq is down 83.05, or 3.1 percent.