NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks rose sharply on Thursday as new economic data confirmed the strength of the U.S. economy.
U.S. retail sales jumped for a third consecutive month last month.
Separately, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region also improved markedly, hitting an 8-month high, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said in a statement Thursday.
Also, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
"The data flurry was positive, particularly the Philly Fed number," Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York told the Reuters Thomson news agency. "It "reduces the probability for a recession, which was low already," he added.
At the close of trading Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 267.42 points, or 0.92%, at 29,297.64.
The Standard and Poors 500 rose 27.52 points, or 0.84%, to 3,316.81.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 98.44 points, or 1.06%, to 9,357.13.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was mixed. The euro was little changed at 1.1134. The British pound gained a few basis points to 1.3057.
The Japanese yen weakened to 110.12. The Swiss franc was unchanged at 0.9648.
The Canadian dollar remained in a tight range at 1.3047. The Australian dollar fell to 0.6895,
while the New Zealand dollar made decent gains to 0.6635.
On European equity markets, the German Dax fell 0.02%. The Paris-based CAC 40 lost 0.11%.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 slid 0.43%.
On Asian markets, the Nikkei 225 was ahead 16.55 points or 0.07% at 23,933.13.
The Australian All Ordinaries gained 45.10 points or 0.63% to 7,158.60.
China's Shanghai Composite fell 15.96 points or 0.52% to 3,074.08.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng jumped 109.45 points or 0.38% to 28,883.04.
(Image credit: Benny Marty | Shutterstock).