U.S. stocks chalked up healthy gains at Thursday's start, adding to the prior day's surge, as Wall Street echoed global markets in cheering Europe's accord to expand a rescue fund to curb the region's debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 246 points to 12,115. The S&P 500 Index added 31 points to 1,273. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 67 points to 2,718. US markets are following a surge in the European markets. In the meantime, US corporations keep churning out earnings to the tune of 300 companies since last night. Surprisingly most stocks are higher. A deal for the Greece debt crisis is good for the financials. All the big banks are jumping 4% to 7%. Ameriprise and Lazard are jumping 15% following earnings. Legg Mason, NYSE Euronext, and Franklin Resources are all higher by 7% after beating estimates. Visa is one of the few financial related stocks not trading higher. Even Moodys is higher following earnings. In the insurance space, AFLAC is jumping 7% even though they missed estimates. MetLife is up 7% ahead of earnings tonight. The techs look great as Intel moves to a new 52 week high this morning. Akamai is up 13% following earnings. Novellus is up 9% following earnings. Taiwan Semi is up 4% on earnings. Cisco is jumping 4% on an upgrade to new recent highs. The commodities are acting great. Dow Chemical is up 8% following earnings. Goldcorp and Barrick Gold are higher following earnings. Even a steel stock, Reliance Steel is up 2% after beating estimates. International Paper is up 6% following earnings. Agrium and Mosaic are higher on upgrades. Valero is up 4% after raising their dividend. Exxon Mobil is struggling even though they beat estimates. A mild pullback only sent the averages higher through the morning. By the afternoon the Dow was up 300 points while the Nasdaq rose 83 points. What a rally to end the month October. Through the afternoon the averages kept climbing. Entering the last hour, the Dow rose 350 points while the Nasdaq jumped 90 points. Wow. In the last hour the Dow rose over 400 points only to pull back into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 339 points, or 2.9%, at 12,208, its first close above 12,000 since August 1st. The S&P 500 gained 42 points, or 3.4%, to 1,284. The Nasdaq Composite rose 87 points, or 3.3%, to 2,738. For the nearly ended month, the major indexes have advanced more than 11%.
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