NEW YORK: Good news about hiring and retail sales helped send the U.S. stock market sharply higher Thursday.
For investors, the two government reports offered more encouragement that the U.S. economic recovery will continue, even as Europe and Japan struggle. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 23.84 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,636.36.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 180.85 points, or 1.2 percent, to 15,176.08. The Nasdaq composite rose 44.93 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,445.36.
The gains were broad. All 10 industry groups within the S&P 500 rose, led by retailers and other consumer-discretionary companies. Gannet soared 34 percent, the most in the S&P 500, on news that it would buy another media company, Belo.
“The underlying fundamentals of our economy are clearly doing much better,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Mass.
Markets have turned turbulent over the past three weeks. The S&P 500 climbed 17 percent from the start of the year and hit an all-time on May 21. The index began sliding the next day when the Federal Reserve said it would consider pulling back its support for the economy this year.
It’s been a bumpy ride lower. The index has been as high as 1,669 and as low as 1,608 over the past three weeks, a wide trading range of 3.6 percent.