Stocks have moved significantly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending the upward move seen in the two previous sessions. With the continued advance, the major average have offset the steep losses posted on Monday.
Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 281.53 points or 1.1 percent at 25,929.55, the Nasdaq is up 116.79 points or 1.5 percent at 7,938.94 and the S&P 500 is up 37.56 points or 1.3 percent at 2,888.52.
The rally on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to earnings news from Walmart (WMT), with the retail giant jumping by 2.7 percent.
The advance by Walmart comes after the company reported fiscal first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates on better than expected comparable store sales growth.
Networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) has also surged up by 7 percent after reporting fiscal third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.
The markets are also benefiting from the release of a batch of upbeat economic data, including report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims dropped more than expected in the week ended May 11th.
The report said initial jobless claims slid to 212,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 228,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 220,000.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a substantial increase in new residential construction in the month of April.
The Commerce Department said housing starts surged up by 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.235 million in April after climbing by 1.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.168 million in March.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also rose by 0.6 percent to a rate