Stocks Soar, Finish Near Session-Highs
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks soared Thursday as optimism about China's economic growth and stimulus-friendly commentary from Federal Reserve officials revived the risk-on trade.
The main driver for the buying was rampant speculation that China's upcoming gross domestic product report will surprise to the upside. There was also a good bit of bullishness surrounding Google's(GOOG) report, sending the stock up 2% in the regular session.
The Internet search giant lived up to the hype, beating the consensus profit view handily and announcing plans for a new class of non-voting shares that would essentially amount to a two-for-one stock split. The stock rose less 1% in the extended session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average leapt 181 points, or 1.4%, to close at 12,987. The S&P 500 was up 19 points, or 1.4%, to finish at 1388 as all ten large-cap sector components rose, led by gains in materials. The Nasdaq rose 39 points, or 1.3%, to settle at 3056.
China will release data for first-quarter gross domestic product Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires estimate that the nation's economy expanded 8.3% during the period, after growing 8.9% during the fourth quarter. There were rumors among traders that China's first-quarter GDP growth could come in at 9%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Average rose 0.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled higher by 0.9%, snapping a three-day losing streak. London's FTSE closed up 1.3% and Germany's DAX rose over 1% amid easing yields for Spanish and Italian bonds.